Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Luis Norton de Matos demands goals to put early pressure

Luis Norton de Matos demands goals to put early pressure

Sitting at the bottom of the table in Group A with no points, India will have to beat Ghana (3 points) by at least four goals and hope Colombia (3 points) loses to table topper United States of America (6 points). "If we could do it against Colombia, there's no reason we can't do it against Ghana", he wrote in a column. They lost their games to US and Colombia.

"India had in the past played against both U.S. and Colombia but never against Ghana; in fact, not that much against African teams as much as we have played in Europe and Latin America".

Central midfielder and skipper Amarjit Singh added: "We have the utmost respect for our opponents but we will give them a very tough fight, even tougher than we gave Colombia". If India win 3-0 and U.S. 2-0, then too India will be placed second by virtue of a better GD, thereby sealing a qualification spot. "We will have to be on our toes for the entirety of the match, if we are to secure a win", Matos said on the eve of this crucial tie.

It could have happened if Rahul Kannoly's first-half stoppage time volley had not hit the post.With the expectations now rising, de Matos and his boys would be aiming to show that the performance against Colombia was no fluke. They are a strong physical team who are quick on the ball. Neither are certain to play against Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday. Though Ghana lost to the US 0-1 after beating Colombia 1-0, they are a very fast and technically very sound side. Till last Thursday, the debate centred on the number of goals India would concede. It was a great transition moment from us, winning it in defence to attacking. Maintaining the shape in a well-organized formation has been pivotal to his tactics.

Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh who has been outstanding in two matches sought more support from the crowd.

De Matos is likely to continue with the same strategy against Ghana tomorrow. This time though, he wants his team to score first, and see how they respond to what he thinks will be India's toughest fixture in the tournament so far.

He was confident that his goalkeeper and the defenders will also rise to the occasion because staying alive in this competition will also brighten their future career prospects.

Other players to go on to professional and senior National Team prominence after breaking through with Colombia's U-17s include Cristián Zapata, Pablo Armero, Fredy Guarín, Adrián Ramos and Jeison Murillo.

India midfielder Ninthoinganba Meetei, who looked to use the flanks well with his pace and agility was brought down by the physically stronger Colombian players easily.

Boris Singh and Sanjeev Stalin are expected to be in the starting line-up as right and left full-backs respectively. "Their first match was not so good, but in the second match, they did very well".

Midfielder, Jeakson Singh, the first Indian goal scorer in the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup, was of the view that team is raring to go against Ghana.

While zealous football follower Suman Sri can't stop showering praise on our desi lads, who are affectionately called the Indian Colts or Blue Cubs, he's also thrilled about getting to watch top blokes from different nations. "Against Ghana also we can't play with small players and even Namit [Deshpande] was good in the air", he said.

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