Senin, 04 Maret 2013

2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers: India beat 4-0 against Guam

Team India won their second match in the Group A qualifiers for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, but India had to wait until the second half though in the end winning 4-0 against Guam at the Thuwanna Yangon Training Centre Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar. India now have six points from two matches.

Captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring in the 49th minute and scored another in injury-time, while Clifford Miranda and Jewel Raja Shaikh scored one apiece in the 68th and the 80th minute respectively.

After a goalless first half, Chhetri drew the first blood four minutes after resumption. He followed Lenny Rodrigues' through pass, beat the off-side trap and slotted it past the rival goalkeeper Douglas Herrick, much to the relief of all. And then the floodgates opened. The second one came in the 68th minute with Clifford Miranda blasting home his left-footer after being set up by Mehtab Hossain.

Jewel placed the third goal to perfection after being found unmarked inside the box by substitute C.K. Vineeth while Chhetri scored the fourth, heading in a Mehtab Hossain corner in the first minute of injurz time. Todaz's goals took Chhetri's tally of international goals to 40, two short of India's all-time record holder, former India Captain Baichung Bhutia.

It was a tactical display by the Indians against Guam, who at times looked ultra-defensive. Finding it difficult to break free among the crowd of legs, the Indians preferred to use the flanks in the second half and opened-up the rivals.

But one needs to mention that India were not off to the perfect start. Guam, physical, seized the early initiative and threatened to frustrate the Indians in the midfield. The plot worked for them and as early as the 8th minute, Jonahan Romero’s shot beat a diving Subrata Pal, hit the post and went out. It was the wake-up call for India.

India had their first chance in the 19th minute when Syed Rahim Nabi set up Jewel Raja Sheikh inside the box. Jewel trapped it, sidestepped Guam's central defender Travis Nicklaw but shot wide. Two minutes later, Chhetri, playing an one-two with Nabi entered the box but Herrick was up to the task.

The Indians laboured hard and halfway into the first half, they were omnipresent on the field. Guam, by the 35th minute itself, had fallen down to defend. At times, you could find all of their eleven players in their own half. Once around the box, it was hard to find the route, the jungle crowd of legs making it all the more difficult for India.

There were a series of corners which India earned but it didn't yield any result. In the 39th minute, a counter-attack saw Mehtab Hossain feed Chhetri inside the box but the fate didn't change as both teams went to the resumption with a clean slate.

Changing over, the urgency was visible right from the kick-off. In the 46th minute, Lenny set up Clifford Miranda inside the box but his powerful shot narrowly sailed over. And almost immediately, India surged ahead. Lenny split the rival defence which saw Chhetri beat the off-side trap and with all the time in the World at his disposal, slotting it past Herrick wasn't much of a task. It was a relief, a much-needed one for India.

In the 56th minute, Mehtab found Clifford on the left flank but Jewel failed to tap Clifford's centre from inside the box. It sailed over. A minute later, a build-up from the back had Guam chasing all quarters. It ended with Lenny Rodrigues' shot missing the upright narrowly. And then in the 58th minute, Chhetri's powerful header off a Raju Gaikwad throw-in narrowly sailed over again, the third one in three consecutive minutes. The trend continued - in the 67th minute, a Denzil floater found Jewel with only the goalkeeper to beat, he too tapped over. But it was not for long that Guam could hold on. The goal which was very much inevitable came in the 68th minute – this time Clifford Miranda blasting it home.

Substitute C.K. Vineeth had, perhaps, the best chance in the second half but he couldn't find the target with only Herrick to beat with what was his first touch on the ball.

It didn’t prove costly as Jewel scored India's third goal in the 80th minute, his second one in consecutive matches. But more was in store. A trademark Chhetri header found the back of the Guam net in the first minute of injury-time – India winning 4-0.

Team India in their final group match play hosts Myanmar on March 6.


MATCH STATS

INDIA 4-0 (0-0) Guam - Goals: 1-0,4-0 Sunil Chhetri (49',90+1'), 2-0 Clifford Miranda (68'), 3-0 Jewel Raja Shaikh (80')

1-Subrata Pal - 2-Denzil Franco, 19-Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, 3-Raju Eknath Gaikwad, 31-Gurjinder Kumar Singh - 22-Syed Rahim Nabi (46' 10-Francis Fernandes), 6-Lenny Rodrigues (61' ?-Izumi Arata), 7-Mehtab Hossain, 15-Clifford Miranda (75' ?-C.K. Vineeth) - 23-Jewel Raja Sheikh - 11-Sunil Chhetri [C]

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