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India lose 1-2 to Iraq in Under-22 AFC Chship

Muscat: Alwyn George scored the lone goal for them as India went down fighting 1-2 against Iraq in their second match of the U-22 AFC Championship at the Royal Oman Police Stadium, here.

Iraq captain Ali Mohammed Alialah headed in a Jawad Kadhim cross in the 35th minute after Jawad got past Vishal Kumar and had sneaked into the box. Ammar Abdul Hussein scored the second goal for Iraq in the 49th minute.

Alwyn George pulled one back for India in the 82nd minute. Upfront, Captain Jeje Lalpekhlua limped off in the 38th minute and substitute Holicharan Narzary almost scored off his first touch with the ball his header just off the target. His partner Manandeep was a man possessed. His passion reflected as he never shied away from tackles, making those off the ball runs and chased like everything depended on it.

In the 42nd minute, he almost scored but Alialah was able to deflect it the last moment for a corner. Changing over, Iraq doubled the lead almost immediately after resumption in the 49th minute through Ammar Abdul Hussein. Despite down by two goals, India didn`t panic. Rather, they tried regrouped.

After a string of passes in the 69th minute, Lalrindika Ralte`s long-ranger almost beat the diving rival goalkeeper Yaseen Yas but Yas managed to palm it away for a corner. In the very next minute, Dika?s free-kick hit the wall.

India pressed and soon Dika and Allwyn?s one-twos had the Iraqis guessing. In the 75th minute, Manandeep tried to tap in between the two stoppers but Yasees was quick to react.

The Iraqis tried to slow down the game in the last quarter of the match but Alwyn was too good for them. He shrugged off three defenders and tap it over an onrushing Yaseen in the 82nd minute.

The rest of the match, India went all out but Iraq managed to hold on. A handball shout was even ruled out. The books may suggest the score for future but the spirit and camaraderie will never be reflected in that. This is a resurgent India who plays till the final whistle. India next play United Arab Emirates on July 28.

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