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India U-16 qualify for AFC Championship

November 08, 2007 15:21 IST

Akshay Kumar Mall scored a brace of goals as India thrashed Bhutan 4-0 in their last Group C match on Wednesday night to qualify for the AFC Under-16 Football Championship in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The Indians led 2-0 at half-time through goals from Aashish Chettri and Abhishek Das before Mall struck twice -- in the 68th and 83rd minute -- to round off India's brilliant campaign, which saw them qualify for the main event, to be held next year.

The comprehensive win at the Prince Mohammed Bin Fahad Stadium left India second in the group with 13 points.

Table-toppers Iraq also finished with 13 points but led the tally with a better goal average (For-28 and against-2).

Hosts Saudi Arabia, who lost to Iraq, finished third with nine points.

India won four matches and held Iraq to a 2-2 draw.

The Indians first routed Sri lanka 6-0 before the draw with Iraq. They then defeated Lebanon and hosts Saudi Arabia with identical margins of 3-0 before last night's triumph against Bhutan.

Meanwhile, All India Football Federation president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi announced a cash incentive of Rs 20,000 for each member of the team.

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