The Indian U-20 team let go their best chance of getting three points in their opening match of the AFC Youth Championships at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday evening.
A win against Kyrgyzstan would have put a lot of pressure on Jordan, who earlier lost their match against defending champions South Korea 3-0. Considering Kyrgyzstan reached here just a day before their match, had just one training session on Saturday and had very little time to acclimatise, a win for India should not have been a problem.
Despite all that, the hosts managed to concede lead a minute before half-time. It was as if Zagid Valiev's boys were determined to make India pay for their inability to finish. Chance after chance went abegging, with Mohun Bagan striker Sushil Kumar Singh being the main culprit.
A clearance from the Kyrgyzstan defence was picked up Roman Ablakimov on the right and he squared the ball for Vladimir Varevkin, who, in turn, put it into the path of an advancing Ildar Amirov. Kyrgyzstan led 1-0.
The introduction of Lalkamal Bhowmick added an edge to the Indian attack in the second-half. India were all over the Kyrgyzs and the equaliser came in the 71st minute when Branco Vincent Cardozo ran down the right, cut in inside the Kyrgyz box and induced a foul from Stepan Miagkih. Lalkamal slotted home the spot-kick.
India upped the tempo and Branco was superb with his deft touches, as were Vashum Reisangmi and Thokchom Naoba Singh in the midfield. But for all their possession, India failed to find the winner.
In the opening match South Korea pumped in three goals past a 10-man Jordan. Shim Young Sung scored a brace and Lee Sang Ho scored one from the spot.