India romp into semis of LG Cup
India scored a brilliant 3-1 victory over Vietnam under-23 to enter the semi-finals of the LG Cup Football tournament on Tuesday.
The victory, which came after a 2-2 draw with Singapore in their opening match, put India on top of Group B, with four points.
They meet Petrokimia Club of Indonesia in the semis on August 8.
In the other semi-final, Singapore under-23 will clash with Vietnam Seniors.
Needing at least a draw to move into the last four, India drew first blood early on, when skipper Baichung Bhutia found the net with a magnificent strike.
Bhutia, who was a bit off colour against Singapore, was at his attacking best today as he scored the first goal and also created a number of scoring chances to win the 'Most Valuable Player' award.
Changing ends with a 1-0 lead, the Indians pressed hard in the second session but failed to score.
Vietnam then stunned them, equalising in the 77th minute through Dang Thang Phuong. The alert Phuong pounced on a loose ball and beat goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee with a fine shot to make it 1-1.
The Indians, however, came back strongly and scored twice
in the last quarter to seal the issue.
Newcomer Abhishek Yadav made it 2-1 in the 86th minute
before substitute Tomba Singh completed the tally in the dying
minutes of the match in front of some 10,000 spectators.
Indian coach Stephen Constantine was delighted that his
team finally got the result that mattered.
"We had dominated the first match too but had to share
points. Today the team showed that it had learnt from its
mistakes and we got the result we wanted," he said.
"We also scored more goals than Singapore did and thus
topped our group," an elated coach said as he left the Thong
Nhat stadium for the team hotel.
Though India ended with four points, the same as
Singapore, they topped the group scoring five goals compared
to Singapore's four.
It turned out to be a bad day for the hosts as the
Vietnam National team were upset 3-1 by Thailand under-20 in
the other match in Group A.
India: Sangram Mukerjee (GK), Mahesh Gawli, Deepak
Mondal, Samir Nayak, Debjit Ghosh, K Ajayan, Venkatesh, Alex
Ambrose, Bijen Singh, Jo Paul Ancheri, Baichung Bhutia, Tomba
Vietnam U-23: Nguyen The A (GK), Vu Nhu Tha, Vo Ba Khoi,
Vo Phi Thuong, Vu Tuan Anh, Nguyen Tien Dung, Le VAn Thanh,
Phan Nhu Thuat, Dang Thanh Phuong, Tran Duc Duong, Nguyen Duc
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