The Indian U-17 World Cup squad, that is preparing for the U-17 World Cup, defeated the Italian Lega Pro U-17 team 2-0 on Friday.
India's opponents comprised of youth players from clubs in Lega Pro and Lega Pro 2, the third and fourth tiers of Italian football, respectively.
Strikes from Abhijit Sarkar (31') and Rahul Praveen (80') led the team to a morale-boosting win months before the U-17 World Cup that starts in October later this year. Italy, who are not among the five UEFA qualifying nations that have made it to the World Cup were second best on the night where India dominated.
India started positively with Komal Thatal's 8th minute strike before Aniket Jadhav came close in the 13th minute. After the early pressure, India finally took the lead with 15 minutes left in the first half. Abhijit Sarkar's cross took a wicked deflection off the Italian defence and the ball ended up in the back of the net to give India the lead. The first half ended 1-0.
It was more of the same in the second half as India kept searching for goals. They almost doubled the lead in the 59th minute when Aniket rounded the keeper but failed to convert into an open goal. India threatened again with Rahul coming close in the 75th minute, but he failed to convert a tap-in. Five minutes later he made amends for that spurned chance when he doubled India's lead with a goal from inside the box.
India held on as the game finished 2-0 in Arezzo, Italy.
*The story was amended to reflect the fact that the team representing Italy was the Lega Pro team and not the national U-17 team