10/2/2018 5:00:36 PM (GMT+3)

Defensive India take on South Korea in AFC U16 quarterfinals

Defensive India take on South Korea in AFC U16 quarterfinals

NEW DELHI: India face acid test when they take on South Korea in the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship quarterfinal at the MBPJ Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday.

The Bibiano Fernandes-coached boys is aiming to make history by becoming the first-ever India U16 side to seal a direct FIFA U17 World Cup berth if they make it to the semis, but the Goan knows that the job is slightly difficult considering the fact that they are up against one of the best continental teams.

“It has been a great honour for us to qualify for the knockout stage after 16 years and congratulations to each one of us for having worked very hard,” said Fernandes.

However, India has been defensively impressive, starting with their spirited 1-0 victory over Vietnam, thanks to Vikram Partap’s penalty. The young Blue Tigers then went on to hold 2008 champions Iran 0-0 and picked up another point against Indonesia in a goalless draw as they sealed second spot in Group D.

Both teams navigated through the group stage undefeated with three clean sheets to show, but Korea has been prolific in front of goal. They’ve the most impressive record among the quarterfinalists scoring 12 and conceding none at the group stage.

The Taeguk Warriors will be on a mission to make up for their disappointment in 2016, when they failed to advance to the knockout stage in a campaign which saw them losing to eventual champions Iraq 2-1.

The two-time champions cruised into the last eight, beating Australia 3-0 and then showcased their attacking prowess in the 7-0 rout of Afghanistan before completing the group stage with a 2-0 win over Iraq for top spot.

However, head coach Kim Jung Soo said his side are not taking their opponents lightly.

“Credit must be given to the Indians who have made it past the group stage without conceding. I think all the teams that have qualified to the knockout stage can be considered favourites. We have to take all games from now on seriously,” said Kim. (Pic credit: AFC)