The Indian national team has won its second match at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers today. Wim Koevermans’ team defeated Guam 4-0 at the Youth Training Centre, Yangon.
India had won their first match against Chinese Taipei on Saturday [+ read more], while Guam suffered a heavy defeat against hosts Myanmar (0-5) and they desperately needed a win against India to stay in contention for the top spot in the group.
Sunil Chhetri brought the deadlock to an end in front of 400 fans, when the skipper put the ball past Guam keeper Doug Herrick with a left-footed shot in the 49th minute. Midfielder Clifford Miranda doubled the lead in the 68th minute.
Jewel Raja Sheikh added a third goal for Team India in the 79th minute, while Sunil Chhetri scored his second goal of the day in the dying moments of the match.
2014 AFC Challenge Cup | Qualifier | Group A
at Youth Training Centre, Yangon (Myanmar)
GUAM 0-4 INDIA
0-1 Sunil Chhetri (49′)
0-2 Clifford Miranda (68′)
0-3 Jewel Raja Sheikh (79′)
0-4 Sunil Chhetri (90’+1′)
1 Doug Herrick; 2 Jonahan Romero, 3 Christian Schweizer, 16 Thaddeus Atalig; 4 Shawn Nicklaw (83′ 25 Mark Chargualaf), 6 Travis Nicklaw, 7 Ian Adamos (49′ 19 Marcus Lopez), 10 Jason Cunliffe [C], 13 Ryan Guy, 14 Mariano Ian Lujan (72′ 17 Dylan Naputi); 9 John Matkin
22 Dallas Jaye; 5 Micah Paulino Francisco, 11 Zachary DeVille, 12 Jorge Valenzo Jr., 15 Scott Leon Guerrero, 18 Dominic Gadia, 21 David Nussbaum, 23 Sean Navarro
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 (62′ 33 Izumi Arata), 7 Mehtab Hossain, 15 Clifford Miranda (75′ 39 C.K. Vineeth), 23 Jewel Raja Sheikh; 11 Sunil Chhetri [C]
16 Karanjit Singh, 44 Sandip Nandy; 4 Nirmal Chettri, 9 Alwyn George, 12 Jeje Lalpekhlua, 18 Souvik Ghosh, 24 Robin Singh, 30 Lalkamal Bhowmick, 38 Rowilson Rodrigues
Khurram Shahzad (Pakistan)
Shafat Habib (Pakistan), Ahmed Jaber Mubarak Rashed (Bahrain)
Mohammad Mousa Abu Loum (Jordan)
David Dwight B. Penano (Philippines)
AIFF MATCH REPORT
You travel to most countries over the World you will find NRIs flocking to the ground to support Indian National Teams across all sports. But it isn’t the case in Yangon. Nevertheless, there was someone who had travelled all the way from Japan expecting her son to play. And her son did!
Tears rolled down Arata Izumi’s mom’s cheeks as she greeted the team from the stands. The team expressed their regards, gratitude, wished her and asked for her blessings. Mom’s heart opened up more – not only for her son, but for all her teammates.
All that happened after India won their second successive match in the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 when they breezed past Guam 4-0 at the Yangon Training Centre on Monday (March 4). All the four goals came in the second half. India now stay on six points from two matches.
Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring in the 49th minute and scored another, the team’s fourth in the 91st minute 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, this time, 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 CK Vineeth while Chhetri scored the fourth, heading in a Mehtab Hossain corner in the 91st minute. The goal took Chhetri’s tally of goals to 40, two short of India’s all-time scorer, former India Captain Bhaichung Bhutia.
It was a tactical display by the Indians against Guam, who looked ultra-defensive at times. Finding it difficult to break free among the crowd of legs, the Indians preferred to use the flanks in the second half and open up the rivals.
India had their first chance in the 19th minute when Syed Rahim Nabi set up Jewel Raja Shaikh 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 CK 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’s 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 the extra time – India winning 4-0.
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 Paul, hit the post and went out. It was the wake-up call for India.
India next play Myanmar in their last match on March 6.