India’s dream to qualify for the AFC U-19 Championship 2020 ended as they got thrashed by the hosts Saudi Arabia on Friday at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Khobar.
The home side was put ahead just 2 minutes into the match as the forward Mohammad Khalil Marran bolted on to a loose ball to put it past the Indian goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill.
Saudi Arabia doubled their lead in the 10th minute as the attacking midfielder Ahmad Albassas converted the cross by Hazzaa Alghamdi from the left side of the pitch.
Eight minutes later as the Indian side haplessly tried to diminish the deficit, Albassas added another goal to his name. India continued to attack as they had no other option, but their attacking attempts were met with strong resilience by the hosts.
Albassas was up to the task once again in the 28th minute as he converted a low cross from the left flank to complete his hat-trick. The scoreline read 4-0 in favor of Saudi Arabia at half time.
India tried to make a comeback by making changes at the mid-time break as Manvir Singh came on to the pitch for Ricky Shabong. The move almost paid dividends as Manvir created a chance by putting a brilliant cross from the right flank, but, unfortunately for India, the cross just evaded Vikram Partap on the far post.
Floyd Pinto’s side played with more self-control in the second half and posed threats for the Saudi defense with Ninthoinganba Meetei leading the charge and drawing fouls from the opposing defenders.
However, the Indians could not find the back of the net after breaking into the attacking third on numerous occasions and the final scoreline remained 4-0 in favor of the hosts.
India will go up against Afghanistan in their third and final match of the AFC U19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers on Sunday.