WAFF 2018: Bhuvenesh's stunning header hands India U16 surprise win over Asian Champions Iraq U16; watch video
The last day has simply been historical for Indian football. While the U20 team defeated six-time FIFA U20 World Cup Champions Argentina in the COTIF Cup, the U16 boys too pulled off an iconic 1-0 win over Asian Champions Iraq in the WAFF U-16 Championship in Amman, Jordan.
In fact, this is the Indian Football team's (across all age-groups) first-ever victory against Iraq in any format.
It was an evenly balanced match, to say the least. Both the teams were creating good opportunities but none of them were able to break the deadlock.
Givson and Vikram got good opportunities early on and they even made the most of it by hitting powerful shots on target. If it was not for the Iraqi custodian Md. Hadi, who parried the ball away brilliantly, the opposition would certainly have been in deep trouble. Harpreet and Salio also got excellent opportunities but failed to convert them into a goal. The Iraqi defence was rock solid and not willing to give many open spaces to the Indian forwards in the 2nd half. The colts from Iraq had a fair share of chances themselves and there was end to end stuff in the match.
However, a special header by Bhuvenesh in the 89th minute in the bottom corner from a precise ball from the right flank finally broke the deadlock. The Indian players on the bench rushed onto the field to congratulate each other and it was a truly special moment. Relive all the moments of the match by watching the video below:
Defeating the defending AFC U-16 Champions when the next edition of the Championship is just a month away is no small feat. Huge shout out to the All India Football Federation and The Sports Authority of India for organizing these exposure tours for Bibiano Fernandes' boys.
This day has given Indian fans the belief that anything is possible in the beautiful game. India were undoubtedly the better side on the day as they created multiple goal-scoring opportunities and deserved the win for their efforts.
Looking back, IOA's decision of not sending the senior Indian Football Team to play at the Asian Games as they aren't 'medal prospects' and 'not in the top 8' in Asia hurts even more. The Indian colts have proven anything is possible with such inspiring performances on the pitch.
We can safely say that Indian Football is on the rise and the fact that our own associations are making us miss out on opportunities is simply disheartening.
Nevertheless, the time now is to celebrate the occasion and cherish it as it is certainly a momentous one.
What is your take on the future of Indian football after this historic win? Do let us know in the comments section below.