India post 2-1 win over Nepal in second international friendly in KathmanduSeptember 6, 2021
In trying conditions and after a barren first half, India found their scoring abilities after the hour mark for an unlikely 2-1 away win over hosts Nepal in the second international friendly at Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu before a holiday crowd on Sunday evening.
National coach Igor Stimac made seven changes in the playing XI which played a 1-1 drawn match on Thursday and even dropped first-choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu among others. Only captain Sunil Chhetri, his strike partner Manvir Singh, defenders Chinglensana Singh, and Subhasish Bose were retained.
And captain Chhetri proved his worth again with his workman-like goal in the 80th minute after substitute Farukh Choudhary broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute.
The first goal resulted after Sana sent in a long ball into the rival box, where captain Chhetri was waiting. The striker leaped to head it to an unmarked Farukh, who made no mistake by rattling the net from close range and silencing the home fans.
Chhetri had other plans too as he scored his 75th international goal and the winner for the visitors when Anirudh Thapa, who found the equaliser in the drawn match, squared the ball which the Indian skipper slotted past Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Lambu with 10 minutes short of regulation time.
Rahim Ali, who won the Man of the Match award in his debut on Thursday, did an encore on Sunday too and won the Man of the Series accolade even though he was replaced after almost 80 minutes of play.
On eve of the friendlies, Chettri has promised that India would like to start the season with a win and in the first international played under wet conditions, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nepal but as he wished, they managed to cling to a well earned win in the second friendly held after six months.
For the home team, Tej Tamang struck in the 87th minute to reduce the margin with a stunner from outside the box raising faint hopes for home fans of another draw but Indians defended well in the next eight minutes including the added on five minute.
The friendlies were played to prepare the India team for SAFF Championships to be held from October 3-13 at the National Stadium in Male, the Maldives. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and hosts Maldives are the other three teams.
India XI: Amrinder Singh, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Pritam Kotal, Subhasish Bose, Bipin Singh (Farukh Choudhary 46th), Anirudh Thapa, Lalengmawia, Rahim Ali (Glan Martins 78′); Sunil Chhetri, Manvir Singh.
Nepal XI: Kiran Kumar Lambu, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Gautam Shreshta, Manish Dangi, Ananta Tamang, Suman Lama), Tej Tamang, Pujan Uparkoti, Aasish Lama, Ayush Ghalan, Sujal Shrestha