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Last Updated: May 17, 2007 - 8:46:52 AM
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India out of Olympics men's football
Mar 28, 2007 - 11:01:01 PM
In the 55th minute, Ahmed, after being fed a good pass from Singh, moved stealthily into the North Korean defence but to India's utter disappointment was sandwiched by three rival defenders, squandering the chance.

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[RxPG] Chennai, March 28 - India crashed out of the 2008 Beijing Olympics men's football competition with a 0-2 defeat to North Korea in a qualifying match here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Wednesday.

With three consecutive defeats in the qualifying phase, India are out of the under-23 tournament. The team had earlier lost 0-3 to Iraq and 0-1 to Thailand.

India put up an improved show, but two outstanding goals by Nom Chal - and Su Hyok - in the second half put the final nail in India's coffin.

India, who are currently ranked 165th in the world, matched the 140th ranked North Koreans to an extent in the first half - which was goalless.

India captain N.S. Manju led by example in the defence in the first half and cramped the rival forwards for space in the 'box' even as North Korea came close to scoring on a few occasions.

North Korea finally drew first blood when a powerful long ranger by Chol kissed goalkeeper Subrata Pal's fingers on its way into the net.

A good clearance by Manju found an unmarked Chol just outside the 'box' and the North Korean forward unleashed a powerful left footer into the net. The whole Indian defence was taken by surprise as Pal made a valiant but failed attempt to stop the ball.

The score line would have increased in the 68th minute, but a brilliant attempt by Pal thwarted Chol's penalty shot, awarded following an illegitimate push by Manju on Chol in the 'box'.

North Korea eventually make it 2-0 when Hoyk received a good pass just outside the 'box' and sent a powerful long ranger that touched the left post on its way into the net.

The goal dashed India's hopes of qualifying for Beijing but stand-in coach Colin Toal was impressed with the performance.

'I am not so disappointed with the performance but the result was disappointing. The performance was good enough and we were 0-0 in the first half,' said Toal.

'Our hopes were dashed after two brilliant goals in the second half and this can happen to any team. I think we kept going and were competitive till the end.'

Toal also added that the international exposure gained by the boys would help them in future tournaments.

'It was good international exposure for the boys despite the clubs grudging that they were suffering due to the unavailability of players. The experience the boys have gained here will obviously help the clubs,' he said.

On some occasions, Indian strikers Tarif Ahmed and Manjit Singh made inroads into the North Korean defence but failed to convert the chances.

'On a few occasions we did give them some anxious moments and altogether we played better than our previous matches. But somehow I am not satisfied with my performance,' said a dejected Singh after the match.

In the 55th minute, Ahmed, after being fed a good pass from Singh, moved stealthily into the North Korean defence but to India's utter disappointment was sandwiched by three rival defenders, squandering the chance.

Midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi, who had been impressive throughout the qualifying stages, was off colour and wasted some easy chances.

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