The Indian football team has flourished under Stephen Constantine second spell as Blues manager, and they are making records one after another. First, they beat FIFA ranked 114th Puerto Rico at home 4-1 in an international friendly, and now they have registered an away victory after the long wait of 11 years beating Cambodia 3-2. India’s last away international friendly victory came back in 2006 against Pakistan, when the team captained by Shanmugam Venkatesh outplayed the neighboring rival 1-0.
Last time we checked India’s FIFA ranking was 152, when they beat Puerto Rico and they jumped 17 places to finish their best ranking of 2016 to 135. India currently ranks 132nd in the FIFA rankings — were given a tough fight by the Cambodians, who are 41 places below them, but in the end Blue Tigers roared and registered a 3-2 victory to add another milestone to their career highlights.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) March 22, 2017
It wasn’t a convincing performance from Stephen Constantine’s team in first half, and coach slammed his boys inpost-match interview saying, “Boys need to start quicker in an international match.”
But, he also shown his happiness expressing, “Every time you play for the national team, you want to win. Results matter and it is nice to continue the winning streak. Winning away from home has been our strength and the fact that we won our first away international friendly after June 2005 makes it all the sweeter. We had some good moments in the match and the boys need to get used to playing with each other,” he stated.
First half of the match didn’t produce the magic, but Blues regrouped in the second half. They fired two quick goals in the space of three minutes to earn themselves victory in their first international friendly of 2017. The victory will boost Indian side confidence ahead of their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers first leg match against Myanmar on March 28 in Yangon.
Sunil Chhetri led his side from the front scoring in 35th minute of the game, but lead doesn’t last longer than a minute. FIFA’s 173 ranked Cambodia responded back through Khoun Laboravy equalizer in 36th minute. It helped hosts to go into the tunnel on level term.
Second half brought some spark in the Indian camp, when Jeje Lalpekhlua (49th) and Sandesh Jhingan (52nd) found the target in quick succession to complete the overhaul. Cambodia pulled one back in second half as well with the help of Chan Vathanaka 62nd minute strike, but Sandesh Jhingan strike proved to be decisive and India maintain their good run since 2016.
It’s good sign for the Blue Tigers for the upcoming matches as they witnessed international debuts for Anas Edathodika and Milan Singh. India will play another away international friendly against Lebanon on 7th June 2017, before hosting Palestine on 2nd Oct. Other than that, India has five Asian Cup Qualifier lined up this year; two against Myanmar & Macau each, and one against Kyrgyzstan.