The India U-23 team's strong second-half showing against a 10-man Kyrgyzstan wasn't enough in their AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Challenge Cup opener, at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Kyrgyzstan skipper Aibek Bokoev was sent off near the hour-mark, according to reports. “For all of the second half, we dominated. We got one goal but with better luck, could have scored three,” India coach Sukhwinder Singh told HT from Colombo.
Kyrgyzstan forged ahead through Amirov's opportunistic strike after goalkeeper Karanjit Singh parried Sergey Kaleutin's first attempt from the top of the area. The insurance goal happened when India defender Dharmaraja Ravanan failed to clear his lines and Zemlianuhin stole in to score, beating Karanjit in a one-on-one situation. India play Turkmenistan in their next match on Friday.
Sept start for 4th I-League
The fourth edition of the I-League will commence without the India national team players from the third week of September this year, it was decided in a committee meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. In the third edition, the derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan that was scheduled to be held on April 2 has been deferred till the last round. The AIFF released the next set of fixtures on Wednesday. East Bengal host Pune in the first match of the 14th round on March 2.