18-yr-old defender Narender Gahlot becomes India’s 2nd youngest goalscorer

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The 18-year-old Narender Gahlot on Tuesday became the second-youngest player to score an international goal for the Indian football team.

Gahlot achieved the feat during the team’s match against Syria in the Intercontinental Cup at the EKR Arena in Ahmedabad.

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He registered the goal as he headed Anirudh Thapa’s corner against Syria. This was Gahlot’s first goal for India.

However, Firas Al-Khatib’s 78th-minute penalty kick levelled the game as both teams shared the spoils of the battle, in a match largely involving end-to-end action where both teams had a number of chances.

Narender beat Bhaichung Bhutia by less than a month to climb up the podium. In 1995 Nehru Cup, Bhaichung scored his first against Uzbekistan at the age of 18 years and 103 days.

Mizoram’s Jerry Zirsanga holds the record for being the youngest player to register a goal for the Blue Tigers. Jerry was 16 years and 311 days old when he scored the goal against Kuwait in 2004.

Talking about the match, India, who had lost 2-4 against Tajikistan and 2-5 against North Korea, collected their first points of the tournament though they ended at the bottom of the table with just one point.

More importantly, India spoilt Syria’s hopes of making it to the finals. Syria, who needed a win to qualify for the final, ended at third with four points from three matches.

Tajikistan and North Korea, who got six points each from three matches, will play in the final of the 2019 Intercontinental Cup on Saturday. Notably, India had won the inaugural tournament last year.

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