Eighteen-year-old Narender Gahlot has become the second youngest international goalscorer in Indian football after Jerry Zirsanga.
On Tuesday, Narender achieved the feat at just 18 years and 83 days during India’s last league game against Syria in the 2019 Intercontinental Cup. India shared honours with Syria as the game ended up with the two sides scoring one goal apiece.
India got the lead in the 51st minute of the match when defender Narender, who made his debut in India’s clash against Tajikistan, found the back of the Syria net with a thunderous header connecting off Anirudh Thapa’s corner.
📽️ @NarenderGahlot rose above everyone else and beautifully nodded in the header to put India in front! 🤩🤩
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) July 16, 2019
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.
Jerry Zirsanga from Mizoram holds the record for being the youngest Indian goal-scorer. Jerry was 16 years and 311 days old when he scored in a friendly against Kuwait during Stephen Constantine’s first stint as India boss 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.
(With inputs from IANS)