Sunil Chhetri secured lone goal in the 81st minute helped India upset low-ranked Vanuatu 1-0 in the Intercontinental Cup on Monday at the Kalinga Stadium. The match was held on 12 June 2023 which is ironically the same day (12 June) back in 2005 he had secured his first goal for India. Chhetri’s goal in the 81st minute let the Indians’ players and supporters relax. And moreover gave the home team a good chance to go to the championship game. In its opening game on Friday, India had trounced Mongolia 2-0.
With his 86th-minute goal in his 135th international game, Chhetri solidified his status as the third-most productive active player. He celebrated the score by tucking the ball under his jersey and into his stomach. He could see his wife Sonam applauding on the huge screen. India presently has six points from two victories, which puts them in first place.
On Thursday, it meets Lebanon in the last round robin league game. With 62% ball control and at least a dozen shots on goal, the 101st-ranked India easily outperformed the competition in the opening period. The bulk of their shots, though, were off-target. In the world, Vanuatu is at 164th position.
The fact that Nandhakumar Sekar, a novice, was right in the centre of the action. And took part in numerous Indian build-ups, made for a successful appearance.
He missed India’s lone serious opportunity of the opening session in the 36th minute by shooting wide on a beautiful through ball from Mahesh Naorem. In the 40th minute, another one of Naorem’s thoughtful crosses from the right found Chhetri in the open, but the ball went inches beyond the India captain’s head with just the keeper in front of him.
Sunil Chhetri was named player of the match. He pleasantly surprised fans when he announced his wife’s pregnancy in a unique manner. He said “Me and my wife are expecting a baby”.
Vanuatu was all over India’s final third as halftime drew near, but Igor Stimac’s team was unable to capitalise.
RESULTS: Vanuatu 0 vs. India 1 (Chhetri 81)
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