India were inches away from making it 2-1 against USA in their previous match. This time, India made it 1-1 with a little more than 10 minutes to go against Colombia but they scored just seconds later to make it 2-1. Jeakson Singh was the man who scored the goal, thereby becoming the first ever to score a goal for India in a FIFA tournament. The match ended that way but the Indian team got a standing ovation from the Delhi crowd at the end of it.
The stand out performer for India, though, was goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. Dheeraj acted as a sweeper for a better part of the match, coming off his line multiple times to clear the ball. His performance earned him praise from former England goalkeeper David James who tweeted, “#India U21 stopper, Dheerraj has been the busiest player on display,” at half time. Jeakson’s goal came from a corner that was given almost the perfect treatment by the Indian, powering into the roof of the net and giving Kevin Mier no chance. But India’s celebrations were cut short as Colombia’s Juan Penaloza scored his second of the day right after play resumed. His first had come out of a brilliant shot from outside the box at the far post in the early minutes of the second half.
India put an emphasis on defending but by no means were they sitting back meekly. They broke forward regularly and had three other clear goalscoring chances apart from the goal itself.
Here are a few reactions to India’s performance:
Well played @IndianFootball , spirited to the end. The heart was shown and the respect gained! Football is definitely on the up in India
— David James (@jamosfoundation) 9 October 2017
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) 9 October 2017
Not sure if I’ve been happier watching a goal scored by an Indian team. So much to be proud about and so much to learn. #INDvCOL
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) 9 October 2017
— Gurpreet Singh (@GurpreetGK) 9 October 2017
Great effort by India tonight but tough luck to go down. We will only get better. Dheeraj was simply brilliant. #INDvCOL
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 9 October 2017
India’s next match, and probably their last in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 will be played on October 12. They will face Ghana, who were defeated by the USA 1-0 on Monday.