India U-17 football team defeats Atletico Madrid in friendlies

On April 19, 2023, in a friendly match in Madrid, the India U-17 team easily defeated Atlético de Madrid U-17, 4-1.

This is the first of many matches against prestigious Spanish clubs that they will play. Prior to their assignment at the AFC U-17 Asian Cup in Thailand, Bibiano Fernandes’ team is on an exposure trip, and the well-trained group wasn’t about to tolerate any lingering questions about their ability and demeanour.

The goals started coming in as early as the 6th minute, with India beginning the scoring after staving off a few Atletico attacks. Picking up a through ball on the right flank, Korou Singh Thingujam took a shot at goal, only to see it go in, giving India an early lead.

Forced on the back foot, Atletico started building up play and creating a few chances, only to be blocked by a stubborn Indian defence. Leading the pack was captain Surajkumar Ngangbam, who was always in the right place to head away or clear an inbound cross.
After the half-hour mark, India doubled their lead, with Korou turning provider this time. The winger picked up Danny Meitei’s throw-in before crossing the ball into the box for Lalpekhlua, who slotted it in perfectly.

Within two minutes, India had a third. For India’s front line, this had become a game of scoring one and then helping another. This time, Lalpekhlua turned provider, crossing from the left to allow Shashwat Panwar to open his tally.

Atletico pulled one back in the 38th minute, with Gabriel scoring from a rebound after Sahil’s save off the initial attempt to keep the hosts in the game as they headed to the break.
In the second period, India was content to play on the counter; the team was more focused on maintaining shape, concentration, and discipline off the ball. In the 59th minute, Shashwat played Korou through on goal. The latter’s pass was well saved by the goalkeeper, though.

India kept Atletico at arm’s length for the better part of the second half, not allowing them to build anything dangerous and controlling the midfield well. Coach Bibiano Fernandes also used the opportunity to rotate his team and give more of the squad a run-in. In the 89th minute, Korou notched his second assist of the game, crossing to substitute Gogocha Chungkham, who scored to complete India’s memorable win.


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