India lost 3-0 against Uzbekistan in the first match of AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers at the Pakhtakor Central Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
India conceded the first goal through a penalty in the first half when Gaurav Bora fouled Alijanov Ilkhamjon inside the box. From the resulting penalty, skipper Islomjon Kobilov beat Dheeraj Singh and scored.
The Blues struggled to hold onto the ball in the final third and paid the price as Bobir Abdixolikov took advantage of the space left behind at the back to pick up a brace. The forward was left unmarked inside the box as a cross from the left found its target and the goalkeeper was beaten.
With India desperately chasing a goal, Abdixolikov made full use of the space afforded inside the box to find the net again and down the Blues.
Player Ratings :
The Kerala Blaster Goalkeeper pulled 2 crucial saves in the first half and was impressive throughout the match.
Anwar Ali was rocksolid in the defense but made some shallow mistakes during the second half.
Except for the costly penalty in the first half, Gaurav Bora had a good outing and kept the Uzbekistan number 9 at bay for sometime.
Nishu Kumar failed to meet the high expectations expected from him. He did not had a good first half but was better in the second.
The captain was playing an attacking midfield role and played long balls, trying to find the forwards.
Sahal had a nervous start and he was well marked by the Uzbekistan defenders who did not allowed him any space.
The midfield was well packed by both teams and it was clear Thapa did not stand a chance. His miss passes led to numerous counter attacks by Uzbekistan.
Chhangte had a moderate outing and put great crosses inside the box.
Rahul was not at his best and had only one clear chance which he failed to convert.
India will take on Tajikistan in the final Group F match on March 24.