India face herculean battle against prodigiously talented Ghana


Placed in Group A for the 2017 South American Under-17 Football Championship, Los Cafeteros, finished second in the first stage to host Chile.

Sitting at the bottom of the table in Group A with no points, India will have to beat Ghana (3 points) by at least four goals and hope Colombia (3 points) loses to table topper United States of America (6 points).

Current Colombia star James Rodriguez made his debut on the worldwide stage with the U-17 squad, scoring three goals in the 2007 U-17 World Cup. They can qualify as the third team even if they fail to beat Ghana by the required margin, but it will be a long shot for Portuguese coach Luis Norton De Matos' boys. In India's favour will be the fact that Ghana have been profligate with their chances. Yet it is far more likely that the quality of India's opponents and a negative four goal difference weighing against his side will likely prove to be a mountain too hard to overcome. However, a minute later Juan Penaloza scored for the second time in the match to break the hearts of the Indian players as well as the fans.

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But de Matos and his young troops will do everything they possibly can to prolong their stay in this competition. His fitness will be key to India keeping the visitors at bay.

Goalkeeper Deeraj Singh, who has been in inspirational form throughout this tournament, is set to start within the posts.

Centre-back Anwar Ali for India showed his determination, disallowing the opponents to take advantage. Following his return from one-match suspension, Boris Singh impressed in the last game and he looks to retain the right-back position, while Sanjeev Stalin, who assisted Jeakson's goal from the corner spot, is set to be the left-back.

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All 21 players on the Colombia roster play their club soccer domestically. He is set to start alongside skipper Amarjit Singh in midfield. "It will be interesting to see how we play if we take the lead in the match", he says.

Other star footballers in the tournament include Mexico's mid-fielder Jairo Torres, Japan's Takefusa Kubo and Spain's defender Eric Garcia amongst other lads. Only in the second half he surged forward on multiple occasions and put in few unsafe crosses.

In the final minutes of the match, India tried to combine and utilise the precious moments to find an equaliser but failed to do so giving away too many balls to the strong Colombia attack. So that will be an area for the coach to work on.

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India will need to tweak its line-up as there are doubts over the availability of Anwar Ali and Amarjit Singh who suffered injuries in the Colombia game.