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AFC U-23 Championship: Tajikistan knock sub-par India out

Two poor performances back-to-back have sent India packing from the AFC U-23 Championship qualification round as Tajikistan claimed a 1-0 win on Sunday in Tashkent.

A first-half goal by Daler Yodgorov (36') and a late goal by Solehov Sharafjon helped Tajikistan ease past a lacklustre Indian team.

Derrick Pereira made two changes to the lineup that started in the 0-3 loss to Uzbekistan on Friday. Rahim Ali and Komal Thatal replaced Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Rahul KP.

After a drowsy start where Tajikistan dominated with the ball, India's chance to score came from a free-kick from the right flank. Komal Thatal was prevented from dribbling into the box with a cynical foul that allowed Chhangte to deliver the set-piece. Sarthak Golui met the ball the far post but his header from close range was straight at the goalkeeper and was saved.

India struggled to make an impact in the attacking third from open play and Rahim Ali and Anirudh Thapa were left chasing the ball for long periods.

India U-23

A Rahimov Muhammadjon cross from the right flank unlocked a fragile Indian defence at the half-hour mark. The centre-backs failed to deal with the ball into the box and it fell perfectly for Daler Yodgorov who slotted home the breakthrough.

India went close again at the stroke of half-time when Rahim Ali was fed through on goal. The young striker sent his shot straight at the goalkeeper who fumbled the ball into the feet of Anirudh Thapa who also could not find the net.

The Blue Tigers' intent to get back into the match pushed Tajikistan back in the second half but like in the game against Uzbekistan, their opponents weren't flustered and the threat was calmly dealt with.

Tajikistan doubled their lead and confirmed the final result with a late goal. Zoir Dzhuraboev's cross from the left was chested down by Solehov Sharafjon inside the box before sending a volley past Dheeraj Singh into the net.