India defeated Kuwait 2-1 in their final qualifying game, with skipper Taison Singh and Gurkirat Singh in each half, but their third-place result in Group H was insufficient to secure them a spot at the AFC U-20 Asian Cup the following year.
India placed third in the qualification tournament, which selected competitors for the tournament in Uzbekistan the following year, finishing ahead of Kuwait but behind champion Australia and second-placed Iraq. The top teams from each of the ten groups, as well as the five best runner-up teams, advanced to the final tournament, and Uzbekistan received a straight entry as hosts for the 16-team continental competition that will take place from March 1 to March 18, 2023.
India had dropped its previous group games to Iraq and Australia, respectively, by scores of 2-4 and 1-4. Taison Singh and Gurkirat Singh scored goals for India in the match against Kuwait on Tuesday night at the Ali Sabah Al-Salem Stadium, while Saleh Almehtab equalised for the visitors.
India got out to a strong start, and in the first minute, a long throw into the box that landed in an Indian corner caused some confusion in the Kuwaiti defence. Vibin crossed the ball, and Himanshu Jangra made a good run to get there, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Following the change of ends, Kuwait came out with increased vigour, with Yosef Alshammari attempting to make a few darting dashes.
The first meaningful chance of the half, however, came from Taison in the 53rd minute when he sprinted down the right, cut inside, and fired a left-footer that Alajmi was able to stop.
Gurkirat’s header from a Vibin corner shortly after the hour mark was stopped. The rebound was hit above the intended target by Sajad Hussain.
There were only two free kicks left with just under 20 minutes remaining. Saleh Almehtab, the captain of Kuwait, curled a free kick into the Indian goal to bring the hosts even.
The joy of Kuwait was short-lived as Taison was brought down outside of Kuwaiti territory after only three minutes. Gurkirat went forward and fired a strong shot that took a deflection before finding the back of the net.