India tasted victory after five straight losses in their 2018 Fifa football World Cup qualifying campaign as they beat Guam by a solitary goal in Bangalore on Thursday.
The victory came despite India playing the whole of the second half with 10 men after Sehnaj Singh was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the 41st minute in the Group D match which was played under constant drizzle and slippery conditions.
Robin Singh scored the all-important goal in the 10th minute at the Kanteerava Stadium to give India three points.
Despite the win, India still occupy the bottom of the five-team group with three points while Guam are just above them on seven points. India are already out of contention for a final round berth for the 2018 World Cup but Thursday’s win has put them in a good position to qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup.
Robin put India ahead early in the match. The striker, playing in front of his Bengaluru FC home crowd, received a pass from his club mate and captain Sunil Chhetri and then cut into the Guam box by getting the better of a defender before sending the ball past a leaping goalkeeper into the net.
The home side suffered a jolt in the 41st minute after Sehnaj was shown a straight red card for a late and high tackle on Justin Lee. But Stephen Constantine’s side hung onto the lead despite incessant attack from Guam in the second half.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu also did a great job under the bar by making numerous saves late in the match after Guam went all out looking for an equaliser.
China score 12
China hammered 12 unanswered goals past a hapless Bhutan side on Thursday as they ramped up their World Cup qualifying hopes with their biggest win in 15 years.
Australia, Japan and South Korea also enjoyed comfortable wins on a night of few surprises in Asia’s round two — apart from the giant scoreline in Changsha.
After Mei Fang’s 10th-minute opener, Yang Xu hit four including a penalty and Yu Dabao, Yu Hanchao and Wang Yongpo all bagged braces as China ran riot.
The pain didn’t finish until two minutes from time for Bhutan when Zhang Xizhe grabbed the 12th and last goal for Alain Perrin’s rampant home side. The 12-0 win heaped further embarrassment on Bhutan after they also lost 0-15 to Qatar earlier.
(With inputs from AFP)