India were knocked out of the U-13 Yamaha Asean Cup football tournament after they suffered a humiliating 0-7 loss to Vietnam in their last group match at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
India needed just a draw to qualify for the semi-finals while Vietnam were in a must-win situation. The nimble footed Vietnamese made the best use of the situation. With five second half goals, they ended all hopes for the Indians who failed to take advantage of their height.
Both the teams were playing their second game in less than 15 hours. But Vietnam, who were thrashed 0-3 by Malaysia Blue Friday, showed no signs of fatigue and played a mature game.
Nham Manh Dung and Tranh Danh Trung struck a brace while Tran Minh Hieu, Bui Anh Duc and Ngyuen Van Lam scored goal a piece.
Vietnam were quickly off the block and went ahead as early as in the second minute from a counter-attack. Vo The Tuan made a quick run down the right flank and laid the pass for Tran Danh who chipped it past India goalie Debopriya Das.
Stung by an early goal, India struggled to find a way out and a foul by defender Paltu Sarkar in the box helped Vietnam double the lead after Bui Anh converted the spot kick.
After the changeover, India coach Chinmay Das gambled by putting Debopriya upfront while the second goalkeeper Kaushik Majhi, who was manning the midfield, took his position under the bar. The ploy misfired miserably as the Indian defence crumbled and Majhi made two crucial errors as Vietnam took full advantage scoring for fun.
In the last 30 minutes, it was a one-way traffic as Vietnam enthralled the spectators with their clever positional play.
India's coach Das said the loss was an eye opener and a great exposure for the boys.
"We might have lost, but it has been a great experience for the kids. I hope it will stand in good stead in the years to come," he said.
The Indian team didn't have the luxury of substitutes as they arrived here with just 11 players. Their best nine players had to stay back in Kolkata as they couldn't get their passports on time.
India is the only country not to be represented by a national team. Yamaha India team comprises mostly players from Michael Nagar club, in the suburbs of Kolkata. They were selected after a qualifying round conducted by Yamaha in association with Indian Football Association (IFA) in Kolkata earlier this year.