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Gritty India lose to Colombia 2-1 in U-17 World Cup

New Delhi (AFP) – India put up a spirited fight but suffered their second successive loss in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup after losing to Colombia 2-1 in New Delhi on Monday.

Mid-fielder Juan Penaloza’s brace kept Colombia’s hopes of advancing into the last-16 stage alive, but the hosts are all but out of the 24-nation event.

India, playing their first-ever FIFA tournament, showed tremendous grit to keep the score at 0-0 in the first half, but the South Americans came back blazing.

Penaloza opened the scoring for Colombia, who had lost their opener to Ghana, with a superb left footer that found the net in the 49th minute.

India, who lost their opening game to the United States 3-0, though did not disappoint a raucous home crowd as Jeakson Thounaojam scored their first goal in a FIFA event.

Thounaojam equalised in the 82nd minute with a neat header after a perfect corner kick from Sanjeev Stalin.

But the joy was shortlived for India as Penaloza struck again in the 83rd minute to seal the game for his side.

India still have a slim chance of moving into the next round if they win their last league game against two-time champions Ghana on Thursday.

The top two teams from each group will book their berth in the last-16 while four other teams, who are ranked third in their pool, could also sneak into the next round.

Earlier the US edged out Ghana 1-0 to secure a pre-quarterfinals spot from Group A after winning their second straight league game at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

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