India scripted history in opening Asian Cup battle. The Blue Tigers registered their biggest win in the tournament and also their first in the Asian Cup since 1964. Sunil Chhetri broke the deadlock with a penalty in the 27th minute before Teerasil Dangda gave Thailand hope with an equaliser. The joy did not last long as Chhetri struck again soon after the break with an excellent first-time strike to restore India’s lead.
Anirudh Thapa extended the lead in the 68th minute and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored after coming off the bench to be part of a historic win for India. Here are the five talking points from the match.
Perfect midfield repair in the break that turned the game.
The Indian midfield lacked in midfield blocking at the first half as Pronay Halder and Anirudh Thapa seemed to be a bit off color. Continuously a gap was being created in between the central midfields and central backs providing Thailand a lot of chances to penetrate through India’s wall of defense. It also created an extra pressure on Sandesh and Anas leading them to exhaust a bit more. But all turned right in the second half when Udanta Singh and Halicharan Narzary along with Anirudh Thapa started shifting sides in the second half leading the gap to reduce with a better suspension in the dfence. They made it assured that the defense don’t fumble due to Thai counter attack as Pronay Halder got back to be the tight man hard to overcome for Thailand.
Ashique- Halicharan –Anirudh the fearless trio in offence with Sunil Chetri the legend.
India started the game with a very positive note as they dominated the first quarter. The speed of Ashique Kuruniyan down the wings kept the defending war elephants on toes as they stopped this lad with a hand ball inside the box granting India a penalty at 27th minute that turned to be a terrific spot kick from Sunil Chetri hitting the left bottom net keeping the goalkeeper lying on the other side.
In the second half the trio Ashique- Halicharan -Anirudh turned to be the perfect supply line for Sunil as he scored as soon as 47th minute in the clock with a terrific long ball placed by Udanta. The flood gate opened at full swing when the youngest Blue Tiger Anirudh Thapa scored a brilliant screamer with selfless assist from Udanta Sing in the 68th minute. The Mizo sniper made it more fatal for the Elephants as Jeje got his maiden goal in national colours after ten months in the 80th minute of the game. It’s the offensive trio along with the leader legend Sunil who lit the hope of conquering at theUAE turf that others made complete perfectly today bringing a renaissance in Indian Fotball with the win.
Thailand owned the first half.
Thailand dominated 2nd and 3rd quarter of the game with creating a lot of chances from set piece that earned them the only goal of the evening. The left flank showed a good run with Thitipan Puangjan on duty. Thailand came up with a good pressing football riding on their swift counter attacks but it couldn’t sustain till the 4th quarter as India Set the flood gate opened leaving the War Elephants with utter failures.
A perfect blend made the victory sweeter.
A perfect rapport of defense with offence turned to be the key for today’s success as Sandesh and Anas along with Gurpreet leaded the team from the back with Sunil leading from the front end. On the other hand bong side backs Kotal and Bose provided a good consistency all through the game.
The communication between all the sections got better and better as the match moved on which proved the team spirit and unity they are leaving in. This win with a huge goal difference will surely boost the Blue Tigers to give stronger fight in the other two fixtures as a stalemate from both will be enough to pull them to the knockout stage.
An evening of making history for India.
Sunil’s brace in this match made him the second active international goal scorer for any Nation with 67 goals. He surpassed Messi (65) and have Christiano Ronaldo(85) atop. It’s the second time after 1962 when India beat Thailand with 4-1 score line.
They meet each other in any competitive match after 20yrs and it turned to be a 14 match unbeaten run for India till now.