India hosted Chinese Taipei in the Hero Continental Cup at Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai today.
India start the match with a positive note with building up quick attacks for an early opener. But failed to get that due the desperate clearances from the Chinese Taipei defenders.
Thapa put in extra shifts with making himself present at all the required positions in the midfield and the Jeje Chhetri combination seemed shaking the visitors confidence as an when India created chances. Jeje Chhetri combination came into picture again in the 14th minute, this time with a perfect finish by Sunil at the end getting India an early lead in the game. Visitors couldn’t really make any impact what so ever on the game as they had difficulties in keeping the ball to themselves and creating chances in front of the stronger and quicker opponents.
Thapa, Jeje and Sunil combined often to create few more chances and tease away defense. Fans, the Blue Pilgrims, as they like to call themselves, turned out in numbers to support the boys in the national colors, who made sure their voices were loud till the final whistle. It was again the Jeje Chhetri combination which brought the home side the second goal in the 34th minute along with Thapa who created the chance. A good series of passes between Thapa, Jeje and Sunil gave India two goal lead in the first half.
Visitors struggled to create any good opportunity for scoring their first of the evening whereas India made sure the ball stays with them and create more chances. Both the teams went out for the half time break with the scoreline of 2-0.
Second half was same as the first half with India dominating the game with creating chances and soon getting the third goal. In the 48th minute, Udanta scored his first goal for India with a brilliant footwork inside Chinese Taipei box before he could find the far bottom corner of the goal. Visitors tried to launch quick attacks with overhead passes in desperation to get a goal, but failed to create chances in the final third. Indian defense stood strong and quick to cut of all the passes right outside their box. 12 minutes later, Sunil scored his hat-trick after 8 years for the nation in style. A good run from the far left into Taipei’s box, beating defenders right before shooting the ball into the nets. Soon, Pronay Halder joined the party with getting his first goal for India as well in the 78th minute in a similar fashion as Sunil’s.
Visitors created few good chances in the 4 minutes extra time which was added at the end of the regular 90 minutes. But they failed to convert any of the created chances into a goal.
At full time scores were, India 5-0 Chinese Taipei.