New Delhi: Indian colts fought hard but could not restrict a much higher-ranked Iran from notching up a 0-3 victory in their second match of the AFC U-19 Qualifiers at the Takhti Stadium in Tehran, Iran.
The disparity in the FIFA rankings though did not seem to have an effect on the Indian boys, who fought back after an early strike by the hosts in the eighth minute to hold the fort till 67th minute when Alireza Jahan converted from the spot, virtually sealing the match for his team.
"It was a harsh penalty and it killed the match for us. We were very much in the match till then," the head coach Colm Toal said after the match.
The Indian colts began the second half of the game with more intent and the equaliser seemed inevitable with the co-ordination between the Indian medios - Prabir Das, Sehnaj Singh, Pronoy Halder and Brandon Fernandes - frustrating the hosts for most part of the match.
With striker Holicharan Narzary and Malswamfela cutting in, there was more than a match on hands.
Earlier, the first goal came even before anyone had settled down. Ahmad Abdollahzadeh curling a corner into the net from the left.
The visitors, though, came back strongly playing a counter attacking game, which saw Brandon Fernandes and Holicharan getting past Mohammad Heidari on the left on three occasions but only to be restricted by an alert Iranian centre-back Vahid.
Another goal by Jahan in the 81st minute of the game, however, meant that Indians had to return empty handed.
India will play Uzbekistan U-19 on Friday.
In another match of the day, Turkmenistan defeated Pakistan 2-1.