lee johnson
India U-19 head coach Lee Johnson during a practice session with his boysAIFF Media

The Indian U-19 National Team will have nothing but pride to take back as they will be keen to put up a good display against Afghanistan in the final game of the AFC U-19 Qualifiers at Palestine today.

Lee Johnson's side have been unable to notch up a win in the tournament so far and they have been eliminated after back-to-back losses against Palestine and United Arab Emirates (UAE) this month. While India lost the first game from Group C by a 1-0 margin, the result against UAE on 4 October was even more demoralising, as Johnson's side were thumped 7-0.

India thus do not earn a berth to the 2016 AFC U-19 Championship, that will be hosted in Bahrain in October.

In the previous two qualifiers, the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram has not remained a happy ground for the Indian side, but they will be hoping that atleast one player gets to record his name in the goalscorers chart before saying a final goodbye to the tournament.

Looking forward to the clash against Afghanistan, Johnson said: "We have first-hand knowledge of Afghanistan as we have played and defeated them before. However Afghanistan will be playing for pride and that could make things difficult for us.

"We need to be switched-on throughout the course of the match, if we need to salvage something from the match."

The results of the games so far isn't what Johnson has wanted, but the ex-Chelsea academy coach suggests that getting to ply trade against physically and technically strong teams is a ray of hope in itself.

"Playing against physically and technically superior opponents, the Indian squad has showed their hard-working attitude in both the matches," Johnson continued. "However, we are in a learning process and need to give the squad time, whilst exposing them to a competitive environment with high quality matches.

"Playing in competitive environments helps you to develop as a Player and the AFC Qualifiers have offered us just that.

"The exposure that the Players get when playing against some of the best Teams in Asia is irreplaceable. High-quality matches and experience helps to develop match intelligence in you which is imperative for any Football Player."

Where to follow the updates of the game

The AFC U-19 Qualifiers: India U-19 vs Afghanistan U-19 kicks off at 7:30pm IST.

There will be no TV broadcast or live streaming of the game. However, the live updates of the match can be found in the official AIFF twitter handle and the official facebook page.

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