Two second-half goals by Juan Penaloza gave Colombia a 2-1 victory over India in an entertaining encounter in New Delhi on Monday evening. The South American’s win came despite Jeakson Thounaojam scoring India’s first-ever goal in a FIFA competition.
A pulsating first half at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium saw India come within inches of breaking the deadlock. However, Abhijit Sarkar’s close-range shot was well saved by Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier before Rahul Kannoly struck the post for the tournament hosts in stoppage time.
In between those Indian opportunities, their goalkeeper Dheeraj Moirangthem continued his impressive form with a series of fine saves to keep the Colombians at bay.
That encouraging first half had the Indian fans anticipating even better things after the break. But on 49 minutes, Penaloza had other ideas. Taking a cross from the left, the Colombian edged along the top of the India box before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed shot past Moirangthem for a 1-0 lead.
The advantage lasted until the late stages, when India’s endeavours to score finally paid off from a corner on 82 minutes. An unmarked Thounaojam rose highest to head home an historic first FIFA tournament goal for his country.
It brought delirium to the New Delhi crowd, but before they could fully savour that special moment, Penaloza struck again a minute later to put Colombia back in front for good and broke the heart of a million Indian supporters right at the finishing stage of the game.