Muscat: India opened their campaign in the AFC Under-22 Football Championship on a rousing note, drubbing Lebanon 5-2 in the opening match of the tournament here on Saturday.
Striker Mandeep Singh, who lost his grandfather three days back, paid the perfect tribute scoring with a scorching header off a Lalrindika cross in the 16th minute to put India in the lead.
Alwyn George slotted it past an advancing rival goalkeeper Nazih Hassan in the 39th minute, before adding one more in the 55th minute, while Jeje Lalpekhlua scored his first goal in the 71st minute and completed the rout in the 90th minute.
For Lebanon, substitute Omar Kurdi pulled one back in the 48th minute while Abdul Fattah scored another in the 69th minute at the picturesque Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex stadium.
In the first half, India were more prepared and organised.
Changing over, Lebanon reduced the margin almost immediately – Kurdi sneaking in between the two stoppers – Souvik Ghosh and Deepak Devrani to slot it home.
Suddenly it seemed that India were losing the plot and Arthur Papas, not much pleased in the momentum being lost, wanted to draft in Jeje.
But even before Jeje replaced Manandeep, George made it 3-1. Receiving it midway into the rival half, Alwyn snaked past three and placed it in the corner for his second goal of the match.
Fattah did tap in off a melee in the 70th minute for Lebanon but the very next minute Jeje announced his arrival scoring from the right corner of the inner box.
With no option left, Lebanon went all out. India stayed content in slowing down the pace for the rest of the match.
Lebanon did try to press hard but it came too late. On the contrary, Dika hit the post which should have been India's fifth goal. Instead Jeje made it 5-2 off a counter in the 90th minute.