The skipper of the Indian football team, Sunil Chhetri continues to shatter records as the veteran forward surpassed Argentine stalwart Lionel Messi to become the second-highest goalscorer in international football among the active footballers. Chhetri scored a thumping brace against Tajikistan in the opening match of the Intercontinental Cup 2019 at the TransStadia Arena in Ahmedabad on Sunday and in-process overtook the left-footed Barcelona maestro. Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo still sits atop the list of highest goal-scorers (active footballers).
Chhetri now has 70 goals under his belt for India as he surpassed the tally of 68 which is held by Messi. The Argentine made the headlines following La Albiceleste’s third-place match against Chile in the ongoing Copa America 2019. Messi could only manage to score one goal in South America’s showpiece event. However, with Chhetri maintaining his hot form for the Blue Tigers, the Indian striker went ahead of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
In India’s match against Tajikistan, Chhetri started the scoring by putting a calm ‘Panenka’ penalty into the back of the net. The 34-year-old then kept his nerves and slotted home the ball fro Mandar Rao Desai in the 41st minute to give India a 2-0 lead on the brink of half-time.
The Blue Tigers had a scintillating start to the match as newly appointed coach Igor Stimac would have liked. Mandar Rao Dessai was crucial in the build-up and played Lallianzuala Chhangte with a clever through ball inside the penalty box. However, the left winger was brought down by a Tajikistan defender and India were awarded a penalty. Chhetri stepped up under pressure and gave India an early lead.
The second goal was due to the brilliance of Udanta who galloped down the right wing before selling a dummy. However, his cross had a bit too much power as it escaped all the blue jerseys inside the penalty box. Chhangte recovered it and placed an accurate low-cross to Chhetri, who changed the scoreline to 2-0.
However, the Indian defenders were caught napping in the second half as the young Tajikistan team dominated and overturned the 2-0 deficit to win the match 4-2.
The Intercontinental cup has four teams participating in it. Apart from India and Tajikistan, Syria and North Korea are the other two teams fighting for the trophy.
India will next play North Korea on July 13 before locking horns with Syria on July 16.
Originally published by: TimesNowNews.com