India’s football team won the Hero Tri-National International Tournament Trophy in Imphal on Tuesday, beating the higher-ranked Kyrgyz Republic 2-0. This victory sealed their record of winning all their matches in the tournament.
Sunil Chhetri Becomes 5th Highest Goal-Scorer
India’s captain Sunil Chhetri scored his 85th international goal, which made him the fifth-highest goalscorer in the history of football, surpassing Hungary’s Ferenc Puskas. Chhetri is also ranked third in the list of active footballers with the most goals, with only Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi ahead of him.
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The Bengaluru FC striker has also scored six times against Bangladesh and Chinese Taipei, five goals against Cambodia and Tajikistan, and four goals against Kenya, Myanmar, Bhutan, Vietnam, Guam, and the Kyrgyz Republic. He has also scored two goals against Syria, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, and Thailand.
Chhetri has scored the most goals in international football against Nepal and the Maldives. He has scored eight goals after playing six matches against the Maldives and eight goals after featuring in 12 matches against Nepal.
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India’s first goal on Tuesday came from center-back Sandesh Jhingan, who scored in the 34th minute. Jhingan found the back of the net after midfielder Brandon Fernandes put the ball in front of the rival goal off a free-kick. In the 84th minute, Chhetri scored from the spot, after Naorem Mahesh Singh was brought down inside the penalty box by Davydov Nikolai. Chhetri scored the penalty, tucking it into the corner of the net.
This was India’s fifth straight win on home turf. Even though the team made six changes from the team that started against Myanmar, it didn’t break their rhythm one bit. If preparations for the AFC Asian Cup in January next was the main purpose of hosting the tournament, then it was a success. The Indians showed that they are growing in confidence before they go for the all-important continental challenge.
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