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India split points with Philippines

Written by: Staff
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Dhaka, Apr 3 (UNI) India produced a dismal performance today as they barely manage to split points against a lowly placed Philippines after a 1-1 draw in a Group A match of the AFC Under-20 Challenge Cup being played in Chittagong.

After two matches, India still top the group with four points.

However, Chinese Taipei are second with three points and a match in hand.

India's hero in their 2-0 victory over Afghanistan in the opening match, Vimal Pariyar once again gave his side the lead in the eighth minute on a cross from captain N P Pradeep but Philippines restored the parity through midfielder Mark Alvin Valeroso 10 minutes later.

Valeroso's header found the back of the net on a Jeremias Jiao corner.

Both the teams were engaged in a midfield battle since the beginning with India, playing sans injured Xavier Vijayakumar, making a few good moves. In the 29th minute Pariyar's shot from the edge of the area went wide and ten minutes later midfielder Lalmalsa wma Hmar's shot hit the crossbar.

Philippines dominated the second half but failed to find the match-winner. Valeroso's solo effort in the 55th minute saw his shot sail over the bar while Indian custodian Paul Shilton made a diving save on a Alexander Borromeo shot in the 75th minute. James Gunn's header on substitute Ian Araneta pass went wide three minutes before the final whistle.

Indian coach Islam Akhemdov was satisfied with the result saying his team still has a match in hand.

''We lost nothing today and have a match in hand to qualify for the quarter-finals. I am happy with the result and the performance of the players,'' he said.

''Philippines are strong team and they played good football. We had to adopt defensive strategy in the second half because our players were tired.'' Akhmedov said he missed Xavier Vijayakumar and the player is doubtful for the third match also.

UNI XC DH BST1933

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