India ran out as winners to go atop the AFC Cup Qualifiers table, in a closely contested game versus a team that seemed to have everything but the end product. The build up from the midfield of The White Falcons was strong but somehow they failed to find the back of the net despite coming close on several occasion.
The nailbiting exchange was spoiled a bit by the poor refereeing who restricted the flow of the game and was at the centre of some questionable decisions including an indirect free kick being awarded against Sandhu for a back-pass offence which seemed looked perfectly legal on the replays. The evenly matched contest saw
The evenly matched contest saw chances being squandered on both sides of the pitch. With both Chhetri and Narzary failing to capitalise on the perfectly executed long ball by Jackichand which lead to the first shot on goal early on in the game. It gave the fans a fair indication what an entertaining game this could be. Another chance came courtesy of Captain Chhetri again, who used his presence of mind, taking a quick throw-in and catching the Kyrzyg back four sleeping. However, the Kyrzyg No. 1 Matiash stood tall and denied Jeje and India their opening goal.
The end of the half saw the first huge chance for Kyrgyz squandered by Murzaev who was perfectly teed up by Lux and almost seemed to have scored just as the Indian Team had a lapse in concentration.
As the second half got underway, the Kyrzyg trickster Israilov, who was a standout performer in the team saw his shot on goal having beaten India’s No.1 Sandhu, who had a brilliant game, beaten, only to be denied by the post.
The later part of the match saw a couple of off the line clearances by India’s centre-halves Anas and Jhingan who surged to the Goal Line whenever Sandhu charged forward to act as a sweeper to make an advanced save.
At 69th Minute, India took the lead. With the move being started off by the skipper himself, all it took was a lobbed pass to cut the Kyrzyg defence open as Chhetri still had his work cut out as he made a beautiful telepathic run, leaving him one-on-one with the keeper. The ex-Sporting Lisbon man remained calm and showed the temperament which could only be expected off of big game players like himself as he stroked the half-volley down and gracefully passed the ball down the corner of the net beautifully.
India went on to miss a couple of chances during the dying minutes as the Kyrzyg surged forward in numbers leaving them vulnerable to counter-attacks. With one chance being a beautiful through pass from Chhetri leaving the substitute Robin Sharma through on goal who looked rusty during the finish, which saw the ball flying past the goal post. A similar chance later on squandered by the Captain itself who beautifully took on the Kyrzig centre-halves and saw an end product which didn’t satisfy the beautiful technique involved in the cut in.
It looked like India would have been punished for being wasteful by Lux who looked to score an amazing half-volley only to be denied by a flying Sandhu.
The game ended 1-0 as India went atop the AFC Cup Qualifying table. A well-earned win to say the least.