Chhangte, Chhetri Strike As India Conquer Lebanon To Lift Intercontinental Cup At Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar: India conquered Lebanon to be crowned champions of the Intercontinental Cup here on Sunday evening.
Two second-half goals by Sunil Chhetri and Man-of-the-Match Lallianzuala Chhangte fired the Blue Tigers to a comfortable victory in front of 12,000 excited fans at Kalinga Stadium.
It was a great result for India, who had beaten Lebanon just once in seven previous meetings.
Having started the tournament with FIFA ranking of 101, India have done enough to get into the top-100 when the next list is released.
After a none-too-promising first session, Igor Stimac’s boys sprung to life immediately after the change of ends. Nikhil Poojary’s fine flick found Chhangte along the right flank. Chhangte advanced swiftly and sent in a low cross which Chhetri deftly pushed past the Lebanese defence.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 66th minute when Chhangte made his presence felt again, this time getting into the scoresheet himself.
Naoram Mahesh Singh’s hard shot from just inside the Lebanon box was partially cleared by goalkeeper Sabeh, who failed to hold on to the ball. Chhangte was quick to pounce on the loose ball and bulged the netting from close distance.
Lebanon did try their luck to fire 12 shots towards the Indian goal, but only 2 were on target.
India, with 56% possession, had 4 shots on target out of the 14 they attempted.
It was Stimac’s second title with the Blue Tigers, having previously triumphed in the SAFF Cup 2 years ago.