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India colts lose to South Korea
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October 04, 2008 21:01 IST

India made a disastrous start to their Under-16 AFC Championship campaign, losing 2-5 to South Korea in their opening match of Group B in Tashkent on Saturday.

India, who had high hopes of finishing among the top three to qualify for next year's World Cup after a fine performance in the qualification round, were found wanting in all departments of the game against the 2002 champions at the MHSK Stadium in the Uzbekistan capital.

Colin Toal's boys never recovered from an early goal conceded in the third minute when Kim Dong Jin fired a 20-yarder following a free-kick.

The Koreans pumped in four more goals in the second session via Lee Chang (49th and 61st minutes), Rim Chang Wo (52nd) and Son Heung Min (72nd).

For India, Lalrindika scored both the goals in 69th and 88th minutes, finding the Korean net in identical fashion from free-kicks just outside the box.

India will now have to beat formidable Syria on Monday to have any chance of making it to the knock-out stage, before taking on the less fancied Indonesia in their last group match on October 8.

Syria had finished fourth in the last edition in 2006 in Singapore besides reaching the knock-out stage of the Under-17 World Cup in South Korea last year.

Two teams each from the four-team four groups make the quarter-finals and top three teams from the competition will make it to the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria next year.

Chief coach Toal conceded that the Koreans were the superior side but said all is not still over for the Indians.

"We lost to a superior team. We started badly in the first as well as second halves. We conceded an early goal," he said.

"But the tournament is not yet over for us. We can still win the next two matches and get six points to remain in contention for the knock-out stage," he said.

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