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Thokchom helps India to force 1-1 draw against Vietnam in AFC U-17 Asian Cup clash

Thokchom

NEW DELHI, June 17: India showcased their resilience by securing a 1-1 draw against Vietnam in the opening Group D match of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Football Championship held in Pathum Thani, Thailand on Saturday. Malemngamba Thokchom played a crucial role in India’s performance by netting a timely equaliser.
Vietnam had taken the lead towards the end of the first half, courtesy of a goal scored by Long Vu. However, India’s left-back Thokchom displayed his prowess and determination by helping his team restore parity in the 69th minute, ensuring that India earned a valuable point in the competition.
The draw against Vietnam sets the stage for India’s upcoming group league matches against Uzbekistan and Japan. In the other group league encounter, Uzbekistan held Japan to a 1-1 draw, highlighting the competitive nature of the tournament.
For the young Indian side, it was a cautious, yet controlled start as they enjoyed better ball possession for large parts of the play and were raiding the Vietnam half time and again.
Early free-kicks on either flank for India meant that Vanlalpeka Guite and Lalpekhlua Ralte could put in dangerous balls into the Vietnam box, but the chances were headed away.
Akash Tirkey had a great chance when he dribbled past two defenders and but his shot went a foot wide.
Vietnam took the lead against the run of play in the dying minutes of the first half, when they cleared a corner by Danny, and Long Vu darted off past the half-line to initiate a counter-attack. He swiftly ran into the Indian box and slotted it into the net.
Long Vu could have doubled the lead, but his header in added time of the first half crashed against the upright before it was cleared.
India head coach Bibiano Fernandes decided to throw Thanglalsoun Gangte in place of midfielder Tirkey.
The Blue Colts began to find their rhythm as the first 10 minutes of the second half came to an end. Danny tried his luck with a back volley, but it was straight at the keeper.
The left-back Thokchom drew India level with 21 minutes left on the clock, when his left-footed effort from long range nestled into the top corner in a spectacular fashion, giving Ngoc no chance.
India had a great opportunity to take the lead deep into added time, when a cross by captain Korou Singh was attacked by Gangte, but the shot was saved. Substitute Omang Dodum got on the rebound, but volleyed it wide.
(Agencies/PTI Inputs)

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