Kuwait City: India shocked a superior Lebanon 4-1 at the Sabah Al-Salem Stadium here in the U-16 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qualifiers.
The Indian team, mostly comprising U-15 boys from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regional academies, took the lead in the ninth through Nuruddin, who struck the top corner of the net even as rival goalkeeper Mohamad Taha attempted an acrobatic save, here late Wednesday night.
Nuruddin was also influential in setting up the second goal in the 17th minute. He went past Jean Sakr on the right flank and sent a cross into the rival box for an onrushing Bedashor Singh to head it in.
Nuruddin was the live-wire upfront and was in the thick of action again in the 37th minute as the ball bounced a bit awkwardly in front of him after a Jerry Lalrinzuala centre down the left. An unmarked Nuruddin was about to tap it in but the ball, agonisingly, sailed over.
India went into the interval with a 2-0 lead. It could have been more, given the domination and penetration.
Post resumption, Deependra Singh Negi was brought in for Kharlukhi.
Nuruddin hadn't had enough till then. In the 53rd minute, even as the entire midfield with three subtle touches moved from side to the other, Nuruddin tried to finish it off form the top of the box. But this time Taha managed to palm it away even as it menacingly was drifting away from him.
Lebanon did pull one back in the 58th minute through Ali Kharoubi, possibly in their sole attack during the match when he put it past a diving Dheeraj Singh.
India hit back harder - pumping in two in the next seven minutes. The tireless Anirudh Thapa scored the third after Bedashwor, playing an one-two with Prosenjit Chakraborty had put Thapa in the clear.
And then Bedashwor scored his second, four minutes later, with his sudden burst of speed as he sneaked in between the two rival central defenders who were kept guessing all throughout the match.
The rest of the match, Lebanon chased; so much so, that even under the lights and with the cool breeze blowing across, their steam ran out fast.
India next play Bhutan, Friday.
India: Dheeraj Singh (Goalkeeper), Amey Ranawade, Jayananda Singh, Amit Tudu, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Kharlukhi (Deependra Singh Negi - 46th) (Bodo Baoringdao 86th), Prosenjit Chakraborty, Anirudh Thapa, Nuruddin (Krishna Pandit -- 90th), Nijwm Muchahary, Bedashwor Singh (Captain)