India opened their campaign by defeating Lebanon 5-2 in the opening match of the AFC U-22 Championship at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat on Saturday.
Striker Manandeep Singh started the goals galore in the 16th minute with a Lalrindika cross while Alwyn George slotted it past an advancing rival goalkeeper Nazih Hassan in the 39th minute. He added one more in the 55th minute while Jeje Lalpekhlua scored his first goal in the 71st minute and completed the rout in the 90th minute.
For Lebanon, substitute Omar Kurdi pulled one back in the 48th minute while Abdul Fattah scored another in the 69th minute.
In the first half, India were more prepared; more organised. The practice sessions in Delhi and Dubai helped the team to acclimatise. Muscat, despite being hot, was more homely for them than Lebanon.
Changing over, Lebanon reduced the margin almost immediately -- Omar Kurdi sneaking in between the two stoppers -- Souvik Ghosh and Deepak Devrani to slot it home. Suddenly it seemed, India were losing the plot and Arthur Papas, not much pleased in the momentum being lost, wanted to draft in Jeje Lalpeklua.
But even before Jeje replaced Manandeep, Alwyn George made it 3-1. Receiving it midway into the rival half, Alwyn snaked past three and placed it in the corner for his second goal of the match.
Abdul Fattah did tap in off a melee in the 70th minute for Lebanon but the very next minute Jeje announced his rival scoring the right corner of the inner box.
Jeje made it 5-2 off a counter in the 90th minute.