Striker Krishna Pandit struck twice to help Indian juniors register a 2-1 victory over Afghanistan in their opening encounter of the U-14 SAARC Tournament at the Tokinosumika Sports Centre in Shizuka, Japan.
India opened the scoring immediately after kick-off, with Krishna chipping a pass from Amey Ranawade over the rival goalkeeper in the 30th second of the match to score the fastest goal of the tournament so far and to give his side an early advantage.
India's joy was doubled a few minutes later when Krishna met Ranawade's cross from the right, to register his second goal.
The goal came in the 5th minute off a set-piece move with Ranawade making a run on right flank and passing the ball to Krishna who sealed the opportunity with great precision.
With the boys in blue leading 2-0 at the interval, Afghanistan came out all guns blazing in the second half but only to be restricted by an alert Indian defence.
Afghanistan eventually managed to pull one back in injury time but by then their fate was sealed. The match was played in two halves, each of 25-minute duration.
"This is good exposure for us and overall development stays the priority. We played in a 4-3-3 format and the boys stayed keen in keeping possession all throughout," the head coach of the Indian U-14 side, Sajid Dar, said.
Meanwhile, assistant coach Goutam Ghosh lauded the boys for sticking to the basics and said, "This was the first time the boys played on an artificial turf and they adapted well. They implemented all that has been taught in the training sessions."
Besides India, eight more teams -- Japan Football Association Academy 1, Japan Football association Academy 2, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal are participating in the tournament.