By India Today Sports Desk: Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte were on target as India defeated Lebanon 2-0 to win the Hero Intercontinental Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The Indian skipper rose to the occasion and netted his 87th international goal to guide India to the Intercontinental Cup triumph in Bhubaneswar. This is India's second Intercontinental Cup title, following their win in the inaugural edition in 2018.
India started on a positive note and were on the lookout for goals but could not convert the few chances that came their way. The India captain opened the scoring for his side in the 46th minute, following a sublime piece of play from Chhangte, who laid his pass on a plate for Chhetri to tap in the first goal of the day.
Chhangte, the provider for the first goal, banged in India’s second in the 66th minute to guarantee a victory for the Blue Tigers. The 26-year-old converted a rebound after substitute Naorem Mahesh fired a shot which was saved by the Lebanese goal-keeper but fell into Chhangte’s path.
Speaking after the match, India head coach Igor Stimac said they were good in the second half but a lot more work needs to be done for the team to perform in the AFC Asian Cup.
“We were good in the first 10 minutes but then we seemed to have disappeared. I was angry and spoke to the players at the half-time break. We were very good in the second half but still lots of work need to be done to prepare ourselves for teams like Australia (in the AFC Asian Cup),” said Stimac.
With 87 international goals to his name in 137 appearances, Chhetri continued to be the third highest goal-scorer among active players in international football, only behind Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.