Intercontinental Cup: India, Lebanon Draw In Dress Rehearsal For Final At Kalinga Stadium
Bhubaneswar: India created the opportunities but failed to utilise any of those and had to settle for a goalless draw with Lebanon in the final round-robin league clash of the Intercontinental Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday evening.
The two teams will face off once again on June 18 in the title decider.
India had already qualified for the final with wins over Mongolia and Vanuatu, while Lebanon booked their berth ahead of kick-off following the result of today’s first game. With Vanuatu beating Mongolia, the two teams finished with 3 and 1 point, respectively.
Thousands thronged the Kalinga Stadium to cheer the Blue Tigers in their quest for an all-win record.
Facing their toughest challenge in the tournament, India found it difficult to breach the Lebanese defence.
Lebanon tested the Indian backline, where goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and player-of-the-match Sandesh Jhinghan rose to the occasion to help the home team keep yet another clean sheet. Amrinder effected a couple of brilliant saves, while Jhinghan’s blocks and interceptions nipped several Lebanese moves in the bud.
At the other end, Anirudh Thapa came close to finding the mark.
Sunil Chhetri, who came on as substitute 10 minutes from full time, headed just over the crosspiece off a corner.
Thapa and Rahim Ali were involved in one of the best moves before the latter dragged his shot wide of the Lebanon goal.
It was India’s first 0-0 result in 16 games.