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Sunil Chhetri , India vs Puerto Rico, International Friendly,


India outplayed higher rank Puerto Rico 4-1 in International friendly

Indian national football team made a strong comeback after conceding an early penalty to the visitors Puerto Rico. The Mumbai crowd get the taste of International friendly football after a wait of 60 years, and those who came to watch their national hero didn’t get disappointed as India thrashed Puerto Rico 4-1. The Blue tigers were looking for a recognition of something like that after losing out 7 out of their 10 World Cup qualifying match and failed to book their place for Russia in 2018. It was the powerful statement by the 152th rank Indian team to 114th rank Puerto Rico, that we deserve better rankings.

North Americans are definitely disappointed with their performances but India have much to cheer. Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai witnessed one of the best performances of Indian football team in recent times. The Blue tigers were down 0-1 in first sevn minutes of the game when visitors got a penalty awarded. Emmanuel Sanchez clinically put the ball in net from the spot to gave visitors the lead. Indian fans may have sniffed another disappointment for Indian football, but in football many things happen over the night minutes.

India hit back 10 minutes later when Sunil Chhetri  free-kick came off the post and Narayan Das dispatched it cleanly in the opposition net. In 24th minute India got awarded another free-kick, but this time Chhetri made his moment of success with his strike. A delightful free-kick to watch, hit the inner-post and goes into the net, and a wild celebration reignites the Andheri sports Complex crowd. Jeje Lalpekhlua made the Indian lead 3-1  with his header in 34th minute of the match. India dominated the first half as Jeje missed another opportunity to grab his brace of the night just before the half-time.

At half time score stood 3-1, and India started brightly in the second-half as well. Jackichand Singh snatched 4th goal for India to gave 4-1 lead in 58th minute, which proved good enough for the Indian defensive line to defend. India defended their lead and registered 4-1 victory over their better ranked rival in FIFA rankings.

Indian coach Stephen Constatine must be happy with Blue Boys performances. Now, India have four back to back win after their last 3-1 defeat against Turkmenistan World Cup qualifier in March.  They had got past Laos 6-1 and 1-0 in the Asia Cup qualifiers in June and then drubbed Bhutan 3-0 last month in another international friendly.

Constantine has really helped in improving their performances. Now all eyes will be on India’s AFC qualification as India hadn’t qualify for Russia. The Blues have picked late but it’s good sign for Indian football.


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