Hosts India beats Kenya 2-0 in the final of Intercontinental Cup 2018
Sunil Chhetri scored both the goals
Chetri scored 64 goals in 102 internationals, to hold joint second spot with Lionel Messi in the list of top scoring international players, who are still active.
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri scored a brace to put himself at joint-stand with Lionel Messi and lead India to Intercontinental Cup 2018 victory with 2-0 win over Kenya in the final at Mumbai Football arena. Chhetri fired in the eighth and 29th minutes to ensure Indian win, which leads wild celebration of the home fans.
Chetri, the Indian caption had a great tournament, where he scored eight out of eleven goals that India scored in four games. That scored 64 goals so far, in 102 Internationals. He is currently second highest international goal scorer among active players. He had scored three against Chinese Taipei, one against New Zealand and two each against Kenya in the league game as well as in the cup final.
India controlled the ball in the first half, drew its rival deep and hit via long balls, as suggested by Indian coach few days back. The defence then absorbed pressure from Kenya’s fightback in the second half, while Gurpreet’s efforts ensured home team the title.
Chhetri gave India the lead off a set-piece, assisted by Anirudh Thapa. Kenyan defender Bernard Oginga gave away a silly free-kick to India for fouling Chhetri. The 20-year-old Thapa took the free-kick just outside the box and Chhetri guided the ball into the left-corner of the net.
Indian captain doubled the lead from as lofted ball from Anas Edathodika. Chhetri tapped the ball with chest between Kenyan defenders Jockins Atudo and Micheal Kibwage, before plunging in a low left-footer from inside the box.
Custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu turned out to be saviour for home team in the second half, who ensured a clean sheet with some of his diving and breath-taking saves. In the 46th minute came Kenya’s best chance when Ovella Ochieng took a shot from a distance, but Gurpreet made a diving save.
A packed house at Mumbai Football Arena got more than its share of thrills as the blue army combined effectively in the striking zone as well as defence, against a relatively inexperienced, but committed Kenyan side. Acknowledging the fanfare, the India head coach, Stephen Constantine commented, “The crowd was the extra man. The players were tremendous, the work rate was amazing. Although Kenya put pressure in the second half, the guys did well and I’m proud of them.”
“The Kenyans showed how tough they are. They played two days ago and yet put up a tough fight.”
Constantine went on to praise his captain Sunil Chhetri who was adjudged as the Player of the Tournament for his eight goals that included a hat-trick and two braces. “Sunil is unbelievably fit, he looks after himself. He’s able to maintain his fitness since he’s professional,” said the Englishman.
Twitter lauds Sunil Chetri
Splendid performance from the #MenInBlue. Keep it up, @chetrisunil11 and the @IndianFootball team. You guys totally deserved this victory. Our support will always continue to be with you. #INDvKEN pic.twitter.com/JxKYVlF8Ej
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) June 10, 2018
India is no more a minnow football team. Congrats @IndianFootball for winning Intercontinental Cup 2018 & @chetrisunil11 for equalling Messi's record of 64 goals in international matches!!! Proud moment for every Indian🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/VdfcPFZ7TC
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) June 10, 2018