The Indian U17 team scripted a glorious chapter in the nation’s footballing history as they romped to a 2-0 win over the Italian U17 team. The difference between the Italians and the Indians in terms of official FIFA rankings is 88 places (ranking are only available for the senior national teams) with the European giants placed at number 12 and India entering the top 100 for the first time in two decades earlier this month.
And when it comes to footballing infrastructure, a comparison between the two nations would be an embarrassment of the highest order. However, no such figures and comparisons mattered today when the Indian colts took the field against the young Azzurri and came away with a convincing 2-0 win.
In terms of drawing parallels from history when it comes to Indian football, this achievement is a landmark event and one that the boys should be proud of. It was not only the win but also the manner in which the Colts played that brought joy to the hearts of thousands that were watching from afar in India.
The Indians were in an ominous mood right from the word go and Komal Thatal’s shot in the 8th minute was only inches away from giving the visitors the lead. And soon after, Aniket Jadhav came close with an effort of his own.
However, the Indian youngsters finally got their break near the half hour mark when a cross from Abhijit Sarkar took a fortuitous deflection off of an Italian defender and rolled into the back of the net.
India took the 1-0 lead into halftime and soon got back to business trying to extend that lead in the second half. They nearly did so near the hour mark when Aniket managed to get behind the backline. However, the forward couldn’t finish off the one on one opportunity.
Rahul Kannoly Praveen then came close in the 75th minute before eventually finishing the game in the 80th as a weak clearance from the Italian keeper saw the ball fall to the Kerala lad. The youngster from Thrissur kept his composure and rolled the ball into the back of the net to secure a memorable day in Indian football.