New Delhi :Out of contention for a next round berth, India scored a consolation 4-1 win over Afghanistan in their AFC Under-19 Championship qualifiers Group C match at Arbil, Iraq.
India had lost to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Oman in their earlier group matches. They play Kuwait in their last group match on November 15.
Interestingly, India, who squandered their lead in the last two matches, were trailing 0-1 at the half time before making a strong comeback in the second session at the Francouse Hareeri Stadium last night.
Malsawmfela (48th and 72nd) and Jeje Lalpeklua (60th and 80th) scored for India.
The first half was dominated by India but it was Afghanistan who scored in the 20th minute against the run of play from the only good move they made in the first half. Mohammed Rahimi headed home a cross by Ghulam Niazi from the right flank.
India continued to put pressure on the Afghans but Jeje's attempt in the 21st minute and Lalrindika's effort in the 30th hit the woodwork.
India got the equaliser three minutes after resumption.
Shouvik Ghosh did the spadework from the left flank and captain Jeje gave a one-touch pass to Malsawmfela who easily found the back of the Afghanistan net.
Colm Toal's boys took 2-1 lead in the 60th minute. Abdul Wakil Malekpoor brought down Malsawmfela inside the box and the resultant penalty was converted easily by Jeje. Malsawmfela increased the lead to 3-1 in the 72nd minute when his powerful shot from just outside the box beat the Afghan custodian.
Jeje completed the tally with his second goal in the 80th minute by connecting a cross from the left by Shouvik. Indian chief coach Toal was a happy man though his boys are out of contention for a berth in next year's AFC Championships final round.
"I am pleased the way the boys played today. We played really well in the first 45 minutes but it was unfortunate to go down 0-1 at the half time. After we lost two matches to Saudi Arabia and Oman we continued to play well," he said.