KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26: India�s under-16 football team will take on Indonesia in its last group match in which a win or a draw would end a 16-year wait to make the quarterfinals of the ongoing AFC Championship here on Thursday.
It was back in 2002 when India had last qualified for the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Championship � their best ever performance in the competition. Both India and Indonesia have four points from their two matches. But Indonesia sit atop Group C courtesy their superior goal difference. A win or a draw against Indonesia will see India progress to the quarterfinal. A loss can also end in India progressing but only if the other match between Iran and Vietnam, which also kicks-off at the same time, ends in a draw.
Permutations and combinations aside, coach Bibiano Fernandes is looking for nothing less than a win to secure the progression. �We always play for a win and we will do so against Indonesia as well. We know how the group stands and it would be favourable for us if we get the win and see ourselves through. We do not want to rely on other teams to do the job for us,� Fernandes said.
�But it�s not easy. Indonesia are an efficient team in attack and have swift forwards who bank on their pacy counter-attacks. We would have to be on our level best if we are to get the better of them� he added.
�This team (India U-16s) possesses a lot of quality and it is only a matter of time before everyone takes notice of us.�
While India defeated Vietnam 1-0 in their opening match, Indonesia were held to a 1-1 draw by them. Indonesia then defeated Iran 2-0 but India played out a goalless draw against the former champions.
�For Indonesia, the result against Iran was a very positive start and the same was for us against Vietnam. Against an Iran that was looking for nothing short of a win, we played out a draw and gained a point,� Fernandes recollected. � PTI