The first match of the Intercontinental Cup finished in favour of the home side, as the ‘Blue Tigers’ clinched a 5 goal victory against an inexperienced Chinese Taipei side.
Stephen Constantine changed his usual 4-4-2 formation to 4-5-1 in the match. Jeje started in the middle along with Udanta Singh, Also had made Thapa in the starting line-up along with Halder, and Constantine had given a debut for Subashish Bose, the fullback of Bengaluru FC.
We have compiled some important aspects from the game which shaped the course of the match.
1. India’s Dominance :
From the beginning itself India’s hands were raised against the inexperienced Taiwan side, this was first reflected on the 14th minute, a through ball from Jeje met the skipper Chhetri which the veteran turned into goal which broke the deadlock of the match. The rest of the match was the story of the domination of the hosts over the young Taiwan side.
2. Comfortable Lead Before the End of First Half:
On the 34th minute India scored another goal, the touch from Jeje and Thapa reached Chettri and the talismanic striker turned it once again into a goal. The defence and midfield of Taiwan had no chance of stopping the move created by the Indian players. They could not have the ball in their control, it was easily intercepted by the Indian players, and the only shelter for the ball could be the net. India registered a comfortable lead going into the break with the visitors showing no body language of retaliation.
3. Udanta Singh ‘The Future of Indian Football’ :
On the 48th minute, Udanta’s dribbling inside the D-Box had made the opponent defenders bit confused and he drilled the sphere into the net taking advantage of the poor defending of the opponent. The opponent fullback did not have a good day, as Ming-wan had difficulty dealing with Indian wingers and ultimately he shifted into physical play which handed him a booking. Another fullback Chuan Chen did not read Udanta’s ball which resulted in the third goal. Although the inexperienced Chinese Taipei players played important role in allowing India to play their free-flowing game, but the presence and the diligence of the BFC winger should not be overlooked on a day of Chhetri’s brilliance. He is one for the future!
4. Chhetri’s Hat-trick:
On the 68th minute Sunil Chhetri scored another goal, a hattrick. It was s his 59th goal, levelling him with Spain legend David Villa who is also standing on 59 goals of 98 matches exactly like Chhetri. The Indian skipper is now third in the list of active international scorers. This hattrick from the Bengaluru FC captain came after 7 years as his last hattrick was against Vietnam back in 2010, overall it was his 3rd hattrick.
5. Is This The Practice That India Needs Before the Asia Cup?
Stephen Constantine said that he was looking forward to this tournament as a team-shaping curb ahead of the AFC Asian Cup next year. But will playing against such teams going to serve the cause of the team? All the three visitors have sent their young bunch ie. second or third stream of players in the Intercontinental Cup. While India will have to take on the first teams of the Asian powerhouses in January, playing against pretty much the reserve sides against nation placed similarly or below their ranking is not going to profit the Indian football team in a long run.