India U-17 head coach Luis Norton de Matos said that his side can be a formidable force to reckon with in future as Monday’s narrow 1-2 defeat against Columbia in the World Cup evidently shows that they can compete with big teams. “I am very proud of the team today. It was a fantastic game. I used to say that you always get a chance to win the game and today I felt that we could do that today. But they scored again and we lost the match in the end,” Matos said. “But we showed that we can play at the same level of Colombia, one of the top South American teams. We gave a tough fight,” he added.

Indian boys were a goal down when Colombian right winger Juan Penaloza produced a pile driver of a shot in the 49th minute of the game. The hosts equalised in the 82nd minute and score their first FIFA World Cup goal thanks to defender Jeakson Thounaojam whose towering header got India on level pegging. India’s hope of sharing a point with Columbians in their 2nd group stage match was quashed when Penaloza, who played as a right-back in their 0-1 loss to Ghana turned the game around his head in the closing stages of the game.   

The coach said that the strongest point is the organization and there’s always room for improvement. “Our strongest point is our organization. And individually, there is a lot of room for improvements,” the Indian coach was quoted as saying. “We had some moments where we lost our concentration. And (when Colombia scored the winner) that was one of those moments. Our boys’ euphoria probably led to that,” he said. India will next play Ghana in their next Group A match on October 12 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

First Published | 10 October 2017 7:42 AM
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