India’s captain Sunil Chhetri was delighted after the team defeated Kyrgyzstan by 2-0 to win the Tri-nation tournament at the Khuman Lumpak Stadium, Imphal on Tuesday night. Sandesh Jhingan scored in the 34th minute of the game to give a lead to the home team. Subsequently, the team’s skipper Sunil Chhetri scored in the 84th minute from the spot kick to put the game to bed.
Chhetri, who scored his 85th International goal to go past legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas, added it feels good to keep two clean sheets in the tournament. The Blue Tigers also defeated Myanmar by 1-0 earlier in the competition.
Meanwhile, India received support from 30,000 fans at the stadium and the home team didn’t disappoint.
“I feel good, more importantly for the clean sheet, that was important. We don’t get to play for the national team at home and this is the first time we’re playing at Manipur, so it’s a good feeling to keep two clean sheets,” Chhetri said after the match.
India’s veteran defender Sandesh Jhingan scored his fifth goal for the national team. Jhingan added that the team should build on this winning impetus in the upcoming tournaments.
“The win is what matters and we are happy with the win. Being a defender, clean sheets are something that we admire or look forward to more but happy for the team. The effort they put in was top notch and we deserved to win and we’ve to build on this. We have a busy calendar ahead of us with important games leading up to the AFC Asian Cup so we have to keep building up on that. Thanks to Manipur, the way they turned up is brilliant and we hope that we’ve given them many reasons to smile and for many years to come and we’re really happy for the whole of India,” Jhingan stated after the final whistle.
“This is something that me and Brandon (Fernandes) have known for years, this is a very old trick of me, Brandon and Sunil Bhai (Chhetri). The initial plan was to put the ball there and for me to pass it inside for Sunil but it just landed in front of me and I put it inside, it was instinctive but the plan was the ball will come over to me and I’ll put it back in for Sunil for a tap in but when it’s your day it’s your day (laughs),” said Jhingan while talking about the goal he scored.
Akash Mishra was named the Hero of the match against Kyrgyz Republic for his fine work on the left flank. Mishra dedicated the award to his teammates and hailed them for coming up with a collective show.
“I think they gave me the award but everybody on the pitch, the boys deserve this award and the boys who came on from the bench, they did a really brilliant job and we were really strong together as a team. It was difficult for us but we played as a team and the support we got from Manipur, it really pushed us and we felt like we were with the 12th player on the pitch, so they were really motivating us and that helped us to win the game,” Mishra said after the match.