India stepped onto a field of history as the young men in blue took on their first challenge on the grand stage but USA crashed the scene by handing the hosts a loss by netting in three goals to nil. The Indian team were simply outshined by the opposition as the physicality made the difference. The Americans managed to control the ball possession with ease and manipulated the match with their strength. Durkin, Sargent and Carleton netted in the needful of the visitors to top Group A. Ghana collected three points as well as they defeated Columbia by a lone goal by Sadiq Ibrahim in the first half of the match to clinch three points.
Indian U-17 coach Luis Norton de Matos expressed his feelings on the pitch before the press conference as the silly mistakes produced by the colts ravaged the manager. A penalty kick which was awarded to visitors in the first half with Jitendra Singh tackling the US forward in the six-yard box easily ended in the back of the net by the skipper, Josh Sargent. India were still backed by over 46,500 supporters in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi even when the hosts were down by three goals. The Indian coach expressed his dismay regarding the performance portrayed during the match by the boys in blue.
“We conceded a stupid goal in the first half through a penalty. We started a bit shy. At half-time it was possible to keep up with the result,” said Matos after the match in a press conference
“In the second half we conceded another goal. The experience of the opposition was displayed,” said the coach when India conceded a second goal in the 50th minute of the second half.
“We didn’t lose our focus and our control, we maintained our calm. For us, it was very important to score a goal in that moment of the game because a score like 2-1 is better and we could have fought for a win. We were punished by a superior team. I am not happy with the result of course. The players can play better with more experience in these types of games,” added an unhappy Matos.
“The big problem here is that we are not cultured with competition, it was the first time for all these players to play in front of forty thousand people and with the culture and experience of the US, our boys were shy. This is a World Cup, not a friendly tournament as we play with a couple of 17-year olds where they gave away passes easily and lost possession on many occasions. To control the emotions playing in front of a huge crowd is difficult.”
India lost confidence after conceding a second goal shot in by Chris Durkin. India’s forwards and mid-fielders skills are a pretty sight to witness as players such as Thatal, Sarkar and captain Amarjit danced around the US defence but the forwards lacked the finishing. India played a more defensive right from the start but the US controlled most of the possession through which there were able to create chances. India only had two shots on target the entire match.
“ In the end, I’m happy that the result as the boys never lost control. We could have done better,” concluded Matos.
US coach John Hackworth was pleased with the result and lauded the crowd as they cheered on when India were trailing during the match. The US coach was highly impressed with the center-backs and the goalkeeper of India ( Dheeraj Moirangthem) as they put on a steller performance to tackle the US’s offence.
“I think both of their centre-backs played really well as they defended really well but for me, the goalkeeper of India was really exceptional. He made several saves earlier in the match,” said the USA coach Hackworth.
“ We played the type of soccer the kids would love and we got our luck with a little bit of heart and Sargent did a great job with the finishing, as he normally isn’t the one who finishes well in practice,” said Hackworth during the press conference.
India will next play Columbia on October 9th at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.