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Asian Cup qualifiers: Sunil Chhetri’s brace helps India score three against Cambodia with 2-0 win


India picked up all three points in their opening game of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers by comfortably beating Cambodia by a 2-0 margin at Vivekanand Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Wednesday. A brace from captain Sunil Chhetri (14′, 59′) gave India the victory of the evening. As soon as the referee whistled, with the crowd behind them, the Indian national team showed they were up to it by pressing the Cambodian team high in their own half and giving no time to the game. opponent to breathe.

The first shot on target for India came in the second minute itself as Roshan Singh tried to hit one into the back of the net from long range. Akash Mishra tried to put the pressure on with a fine shot in the 4th minute, but Cambodian goalkeeper Hul Kimhuy was able to come forward and collect it. India dominated the early stages but there was potential danger as Sandesh Jhingan was booked for a dangerous tackle. Cambodia created a chance in the seventh minute. They attacked down the left flank and the ball was dropped to the edge of the box but Orn Chanpolin’s shot went over the bar.

India regained complete control of the game soon after and the rewards for them also followed soon after. Liston Colaco launched a mad dash down the left in the 13th minute, beating a few defenders but was knocked down inside the box and India were awarded a penalty. Captain Sunil Chhetri came forward and netted the penalty in the left corner in the 14th minute to calm the nerves and put India ahead. India kept the ball and never wavered after scoring the opening goal. Chhetri had the chance to score his second goal in the 22nd minute when he was left unmarked in the box but his header went wide. The Indian skipper was also cautioned in the 31st minute when the referee deemed his foot too high as he tried to win a ball against Choun Chanchav.

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After half an hour, India created a flurry of chances. First, it’s a center from the left from Akash Mishra who finds Sunil Chhetri following a beautiful model from Anirudh Thapa. However, Chhetri’s shot was scraped and did not hinder the goalkeeper. Brandon Fernandes then tried to take the goalkeeper with a shot from long range but it was over the bar.

In the 41st minute, Akash Mishra provided a stupendous effort cutting in from the left and firing a deflected shot, but it was parried by the goalkeeper. Just before the break however, Cambodia had some hope of leveling the game when they got a free kick on the edge of the box. Keo Sokpheng’s shot was on target but easily stopped by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and the referee immediately whistled after half-time. India made some changes at the break with Sahal Abdul Samad and Udanta Singh coming on. In the 50th minute, Brandon placed a cross towards Chhetri but again his header was off target. However, it was the third lucky time for the Indian skipper as in the 60th minute another cross came in, this time from the left to the far corner and Sunil Chhetri leapt up to hit an accurate header down the top right corner and in the back of the net. His second goal gave India the break they needed.

Cambodia offered a triple substitution just after the hour mark, but it had no positive impact on the visiting team. Chhetri had a chance to complete his hat trick in the 66th minute but his effort was blocked by defenders before being taken off by coach Igor Stimac along with Brandon Fernandes as Glan Martins and Ashique Kuruniyan came on. Earlier in the day, Hong Kong recorded a 2-1 victory over Afghanistan in Group D, which meant that as things stood, India were in first place in Group D, followed by Hong Kong, with both teams at 3 points. Afghanistan and Cambodia will be looking to make a comeback with the next Group D fixtures scheduled for Saturday.

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Post expires at 7:14am on Sunday June 19th, 2022

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