Bhubaneshwar: The Indian football team on Sunday triumphed the Hero international cup under the captaincy of Sunil chhetri. As he rose to the occasion with his 87th international goal with a 2-0 victory over Lebanon in the final here on Sunday.
With a huge crowd expected to turn out to support them, head coach Igor Stimac had promised a super Sunday in Bhubaneswar, and his boys did everything to make sure their coach lived up to his assurance.
With a solid 2-0 win over Lebanon, the Indian men’s senior team clinched the Intercontinental Cup, adding to the title they won in the inaugural year in 2018.
In what was the first-ever tournament for the Blue Tigers in the Odisha capital, the fans were treated to a fantastic spectacle over the course of four matches, where India did not concede any goals en route to reclaiming the title they last won in 2018.
In an impressive display, Lallianzuala Chhangte, the other star of the summit showdown, scored the second goal of the evening as India secured another clean sheet.
Having previously won the inaugural edition in 2018, this victory marks India’s second title triumph in the tournament, with North Korea emerging as champions in 2019.
In the final stages of his career, the 38-year-old Chhetri made his mark by finding the back of the net in the 46th minute of the title clash. This broke the deadlock immediately after a goalless first half.
With the support of a nearly full-capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium, India solidified their position after taking the lead. Lallianzuala Chhangte, who provided the first goal, delighted the fans by scoring in the 66th minute, leaving their opponents, ranked 99th, stunned.
A dominant India did all the damage in the second half as Chhetri found the net almost immediately after the restart, getting on the end of an incisive Indian attack from the right. Player of the Match Chhangte then doubled the advantage 20 minutes later with a simple tap-in.
Meanwhile, the honourable Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik announced a cash award of Rs. one crore for the Indian team for their fine showing in the Intercontinental Cup.
Additionally, the historic night witnessed the presence of several esteemed dignitaries, adding to the significance of the momentous occasion including Sports & Youth Services Minister, Tusharkanti Behera, Secretary, 5T, Shri V Karthikey Pandian, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sports, Vineel Krishna, President AIFF, Shri Kalyan Chaubey, Secretary General, AIFF, Shaji Prabhakaran, and Secretary, Football Association of Odisha, Ashirbad Behera. (With Inputs from IANS)