Qualifiers - Group B: India, Uzbekistan enjoy opening wins
Tashkent: India and Uzbekistan kicked off Group B of the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers in emphatic fashion on Wednesday.
India proved too strong for Turkmenistan, with the South Asians winning 5-0, while Uzbekistan fended off the challenge of Bahrain for a 3-1 result.
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India 5-0 Turkmenistan
India got off to a promising start at the Transportation Institute Stadium, as they set eyes on a ninth appearance in the Finals.
Shubho Paul gave the South Asians the lead in the 23rd minute, and Sridarath Nongmeikapam ensured a comfortable lead going into the break five minutes before half-time.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, Taison Singh Loitongbam extended their lead, which forced Turkmenistan head coach Batyr Shyhyyev to send on Didar Muhammednurov to bolster their defence two minutes later.
The Central Asians were able to hold the Indians back, but India's persistence paid off as substitute Himanshu Jangra etched his name on the scoresheet in the 90th minute, before Nongmeikapam ended proceedings with his goal a minute later.
Uzbekistan 3-1 Bahrain
Two second half goals secured Uzbekistan a 3-1 win over Bahrain.
Uzbekistan, the 2012 champions, took the lead in the 18th minute through Rian Islamov, but Sayed mahmoom Almoosawi equalised for Bahrain in the 44th minute.
The deadlock continued way into the second half, till Mirkomil Abrazokov restored the Uzbek's goal advantage in the 69th minute and Rustam Turdimurodov scored six minutes into added time to secure Uzbekistan an emphatic win.
Uzbekistan will continue their campaign against Central Asian neighbour Turkmenistan on Friday, while Bahrain play Group B leaders India.
Photos: Uzbekistan Football Association
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