Shayon Harrison’s first half penalty was added to by efforts after the break from Ryan Loft and Kazaiah Sterling – the latter bagging his first goal at Under-18 level – as we used the momentum from Sunday’s 5-0 victory against Frenz United Malaysia to our advantage in Group D.
“It’s very pleasing to have put ourselves in a great position to qualify for the quarter-finals after only two games,” said Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna.
“We were very good in the first half and really dominated, created quite a few opportunities and were disappointed to have only scored the one goal by half-time.
“In the second half it was a tough challenge. We started well and scored a second goal but India responded excellently, put us under a little bit of pressure and for a 20-minute spell at 2-1 it was difficult.
“But it was pleasing to come through that period and to get the third goal right at the end.”
Harrison and Zenon Stylianides both went close following crosses from Kyle Walker-Peters in the opening stages, while AIFF had one big chance but goalkeeper Harry Voss watched it go wide.
Loft had a near miss following an in-swinger from Anthony Georgiou, while Ismail Azzaoui went on a fine solo run through the middle – only to toe-poke the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
Our opening goal on the half-hour mark came from the penalty spot, Harrison converting after Georgiou had cut inside and been fouled at the corner of the box as he tried to squeeze between two defenders.
It was 2-0 within a minute of the start of the second half as Muscatt drove inside from the left and played a clever reverse pass to Azzaoui, whose cut-back was tapped in by Loft.
AIFF then had a spell in the ascendancy and pulled a goal back on the hour mark with a free header following a cross from the right before going on to hit the post as they chased an equaliser.
We withstood their pressure, however, and Sterling – one of three Under-16s players involved as second half substitutes – went close on a couple of occasions, while Azzaoui couldn’t make the most of a one-on-one situation with the keeper.
Sterling rounded off the scoring two minutes into stoppage time, flicking home a header from Georgiou’s in-swinging cross.
Our final match in the group stage is against Argentinian side Estudiantes on Thursday, kick-off 8.30am UK time, 4.30pm local.
Spurs: Voss, Walker-Peters (Tanganga 45), Muscatt, Owens, Maghoma, Walkes, Georgiou, Stylianides, Loft (Sterling 65), Harrison (Duncan 65), Azzaoui.