New Delhi: The Indian football team was off to a winning start in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers, beating a 10-man Turkmenistan 3-1 at the Takhti Stadium in Tehran, Iran.
    
Brandon Fernandes put India ahead when he converted a penalty in the 39th minute only for Myradov to equalise in the 56th minute.

Captain Malswamfela doubled India's lead in the 60th minute before Prabir Das completed the rout in the 82nd minute on Monday.

It was a clinical display by the colts, who preferred to play the waiting game. Turkmenistan tried to dominate early, attacking down the left with Captain Durdiyev Didar and Muhadov Suleyman keen on making a mark. But a stubborn Pritam Kotal stood firm, thwarting and intercepting any attempts by the rivals to score.

As the game progressed, the Indians took over. Fernandes and Sehnaj Singh took control and with Holicharan Narzary and Malswamfela interchanging, the Turkmenistan defence was stretched a lot.

The first goal came in the 39th minute. Brandon, who with his deft touches had always kept the rival defence guessing, got past Gurt Podarov with a sudden burst of speed on the right side.

Caught on the wrong foot, Podarov, had little option but to bring Brandon down inside the box only to be given the marching orders. Brandon gleefully converted from the spot to put India in the lead.

Changing over, quite against the run of play, Myradov pulled it back for Turkmenistan in the 56th minute. But it didn't last long as four minutes later, Fela side-stepped two defenders before blasting it in.

Keen to seal the fate early, Coach Colm Toal introduced a double substitution -– Johnychand Singh coming in place of Brandon Fernandes and Prabir Das replacing Pronay Halder -- and the fresh legs sealed the final nail.

In the 82nd minute, Prabir stayed alert to tap in India's third goal after Holicharan Narzary had sneaked past a couple of defenders down the left flank. For India, birthday-boy Anto
Xavier was red-carded in the 86th minute.

India next play Iran on Wednesday. In another match, Uzbekistan U-19 defeated Pakistan U-19 3-0.

(Agencies)