India crumbled under pressure in the battle of sub-continental rivals as Pakistan sent them packing with a 2-1 triumph

Lahore, PFF Press Release, November 09, 2011: India crumbled under pressure in the battle of sub-continental rivals as Pakistan sent them packing with a 2-1 triumph in a thrilling AFC-19 Qualifiers played at the Takhti stadium, Iran, on Tuesday evening.

According to the press release issued by Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), the Group ‘C’ clash between the two sides for the 2012 AFC U19 Championship qualifiers was for nothing but pride after Pakistan and India failed to finish in top two spots that would have guaranteed a spot in next year’s main championship. Bilawal-ur-Rehman was the hero for Pakistan as he scored twice.

In the first half, both team found hard to adjust to the slushy ground conditions. Pakistan adjusted better and rode on a brace from Bilalwal-ur-Rehman, (MF) to beat India 2-1. Bilawal scored his first when he headed it home in the 32nd minute, and then in the 43rd minute, he scored off a direct free-kick from outside the box. India pulled one back in the 55th minute when Johnnychand Singh scored a goal.

Same result occurred in the final of SAFF Championship under-16 football where India U-16 team stumbled at the final hurdle as they went down to Pakistan 1-2 in the title clash on 9th August 2011 at Nepal. Football in Pakistan is moving towards a positive direction. This statement may be criticized by many, but a ray of hope is visible in the recent football activities by Pakistan at sub-continent level.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) started the AFC U-19 Championship in 1959, five years after the formation of the game’s continental body. The AFC first hosted the men’s Asian Cup in 1956 and three years later decided to hold the youth competition to provide another tier of competitive international football for the development of young playing talent in Asia.

Previously, the competition was known as the AFC Youth Championship but now it has been renamed as the AFC U-19 Championship to fall in line with FIFA’s naming conventions and also reflect the age of the players at the competition.

The competition is held every two years and is open to players under the age of 19 and also acts as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The top four sides in the AFC Youth Championship will advance to the FIFA U-20 World Cup to be played in Colombia next year. UAE won the title in Saudi Arabia two years back after defeating Uzbekistan in the final.

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