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INDIA GETS OVER THE FIRST DETERRENT THANKS TO SUNIL CHHETRI’S BRACE

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Sunil Chhetri will celebrate his 17th year in international football in four days. In terms of skill set and drive, the 37-year-old is still unrivalled. He scored twice in India’s 2-0 win against Cambodia in the Asian Cup Group D qualifiers, bringing his total number of international goals to 82. According to the calculations, Chhetri is four goals short of Lionel Messi’s 86.

Not only did he walk with a confident stride, but the veteran marksman also displayed the passion of a 17-year-old, who started his football career playing for Mohun Bagan in 2002. When Liston Colaco attempted an unwise shot from well outside the area, his captain berated him. When the referee booked Chhetri for a high challenge, he became angry at his midfielders for not closing the Cambodian player.

India scored their first goal within 13 minutes of the game, with little pressure on them. Boris Kok attempted a sliding tackle inside the area to stop Colaco, but he retrieved the ball but collided with the Indian striker on his follow through. India, on the other hand, got the better of the green, as the referee awarded a penalty. Chhetri scored on the fly.

India scored their first goal within 13 minutes of the game, with little pressure on them. Boris Kok attempted a sliding tackle inside the area to stop Colaco, but he retrieved the ball but collided with the Indian striker on his follow through. India, on the other hand, got the better of the green, as the referee conceded a penalty. Chhetri scored on the fly.

The Indian team’s head coach, Igor Stimac, sought an early goal, and a 1-0 advantage gave the hosts some breathing room. Cambodia’s fragile link to a goal danger was a Keo Sokpheng free-kick from 20 yards out. At halftime, Stimac made excellent alterations, bringing on Sahal Abdul Samad and Udanta Singh in place of Anirudh Thapa and Manvir Singh. In the second half, India increased the ante. On 59 minutes, Chhetri’s header from a Brandon Fernandes pass gave the team three points and a fantastic start to the season before facing Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

The AIFF’s decision to initially provide only 12,000 complimentary tickets for India’s matches was mocked by some crowded enclosures at the Salt Lake Stadium. On 68 minutes, Chhetri received a standing ovation as he exited the pitch. The task was done, and Stimac decided to keep his captain for the following two games. Colaco was hailed by the crowd after a fantastic tackle that stopped a Cambodian counter-attack.

They raised their hands in honour of Akash Mishra, who had an outstanding all-around performance. As a symbol of appreciation for India’s greatest, Chuni Goswami, they hoisted a banner. In the fourth quarter, India has a tendency to lose its bearings. Cambodia lacked ambition, but the hosts were secure. In the mid-summer heat and humidity, the next two games would be a test of endurance.

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