The Asian Games bound India U-23 national team started their China Exposure Tour on a high with a convincing 3-0 win over Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Guoxin-Sainty FC at the Century Park in Shanghai on Friday.
Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh and substitute Alwyn George were on target either side of half-time for the men in blue who prior to this tour drew a Friendly Series against Pakistan 1-1.
One time league runners-up Jiangsu are currently placed seventh in the Chinese Super League table having garnered 31 points from 21 matches so far. They fielded their second string side in this match.
India started the match brightly winning three corners in the space of the first twenty minutes. But all three takes from Dempo’s Mandar Rao Desai failed to cause enough flutters in opposition ranks.
But that was not to be so for long. A free kick from 25 yards was craftily swerved in at the far post by Sunil with the match only 28 minutes old. Soon after the captain had another glorious chance to double his lead from the penalty spot after Robin was brought down inside the 18-yard box. But the AIFF Player of the Year pulled his take wide.
In between Robin couldn’t quite pull the trigger from a one on one situation also failing to keep the ball on target on the rebound. But the tall Bengaluru FC No 9 made amends on the other side of the half when he leaped highest to powerfully head the ball into the back of the net from Mandar’s perfectly weighed right-wing cross.
The hosts tried to comeback with a flurry of attacks in the end but it was India’s day. Mandar was in the thick of things again, this time laying the ball for Dempo man Alwyn who crowned India’s day in office with a delicate back heel poke from close.
India next play another side from the Chinese Super League, Shanghai Dongya East Asia FC, on September 6.
INDIA | Line-up:
Amrinder Singh; Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Joyner Lourenco, Narayan Das, Siam Hanghal (89′ Lalrindika Ralte), Pronay Halder, Francis Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Sunil Chhetri [C], Robin Singh (70′ Alwyn George)