India U-19 win OFC Youth Development Tournament 2019 in Vanuatu
Substitutes Gurkirat Singh and Manvir Singh were instrumental in the 2-0 win over Tahiti in the concluding clash
Substitutes Gurkirat Singh and Manvir Singh were instrumental in the 2-0 win over Tahiti in the concluding clash

The Indian U-19 national team beat Tahiti 2-0 to clinch the OFC Youth Development Tournament 2019 at the Korman Stadium in Port Villa, Vanuatu, on Saturday.

Floyd Pinto's boys had defeated hosts Vanuatu and New Caledonia 1-0 and 4-1 respectively in Group B to setup the final clash against the winners of Group A, Tahiti.

The Blue Colts scored twice in the second half through Manvir Singh (71') and Vikram Partap (88') to take home the title.

The first half was not short of opportunities for India, especially when Vikram saw his attempt balloon above the target while pouncing on the rebound of Sumit Rathi's initial shot. The shots on target (4-0) were quite in India's favour at the break.

Crossing over, substitute Gurkirat Singh's 52nd minute goal was ruled off-side and it took less than 20 minutes for the Indians to finally break the deadlock.

Following a peach of a run by Ninthoi Meetei, Gurkirat got himself in the thick of action once again, putting the ball in the path of another subsitute Manvir Singh to nod home in the 71st minute.

In the 83rd minute, Vikram could have made it 2-0 after another peice of brilliant work from Ninthoi but the former failed to find the mark from close distance.

Though Vikram did make amends for his earlier misses and headed in a low cross by Gurkirat in the 88th minute to seal the win and the championship.

Pinto's boys are currently preparing for the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-19 Championship Qualifiers later this year, where they have been drawn into Group F alongside hosts Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan for the AFC qualifiers.

The India U-19 side also partook in another exposure trip in Turkey in July where they played friendlies against Oman, Jordan and Kocaelispor's U-19 teams. Their next assignment will be the SAFF (South Asian Football Confederation) U-19 Championship which will be held in September.

India U-19 XI: Prabhsukhan Gill (GK) (C); Mohd. Rafi, Jitendra, Bikash Yumnum, Sumit Rathi; Vikram Partap, Thoiba Singh, Ricky Shabong (Manvir Singh 71'), Ninthoi Meetei (Ravi Bahadur Rana 87'); Givson Singh (Jeakson Singh 86'); Aman Chetri (Gurkirat Singh 52').

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