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India Under-17s receive standing ovation after fighting back against Benfica

India's U17 football team

Portugal, April 29 (UITV) - Benfica - Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a Portuguese sports club based in Lisbon, Portugal. It is best known for the professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top flight of Portuguese football.

At the Seixal Stadium in Portugal, where the Indian Colts are halfway through their exposure trip to the Iberian country, Luis Norton de Matos’s charges displayed grit and determination to come back from two goals down to peg Benfica back to a 2–2 final scoreline.

One Indian fan watching from the sidelines said: “The Benfica squad was pretty relaxed until the 75th minute when they made their substitutions. But as soon as they made the substitutions, we could see they were anxious. There was a small group of 15-20 people gathered to watch the match, mostly parents of the children playing for Benfica. But after the final whistle, their relaxed faces became faces of disappointment. After drawing the match, all the fans stood up and gave a standing ovation for their efforts. The players exchanged ideas about how to play better and the small yet impactful crowd cheered both sets of players, especially the Indians.”

Benfica, who finished runners-up in this season’s UEFA Youth League, dominated proceedings from the off, keeping possession of the ball with relative calm and restricting the Indians to play on the counter. However, with limited possession, the Colts were more than a match for their Portuguese opponents and created goalscoring chances themselves.

The match ended without either team adding a third, winning goal, but the Indian Colts would be the far happier unit, having lost their opening two practice games in Portugal against Vitoria Setubal and Belenenses. To add further ecstasy, the young Indians received a standing ovation as they walked off the pitch, highlighting the fact that holding Benfica to a draw was no mean feat.

The Colts merited the cheers reserved for them at the end, suggesting that not even a practice match is not taken lightly by those supporting them out there and back home in India.

The Under-17 World Cup will see an Indian team take part in a FIFA competition for the first time ever, so there is considerable enthusiasm for the event from Indians all across the globe.