India hosted Kenya in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2018 at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai today.
It was a showering night in Mumbai as both the teams kicked off the game despite of the odd weather conditions with water logs all over the pitch which made the players difficult to judge the ball. It was Kenya with a good start with a good ball possession and creating chances. But Sandesh and team stood strong to cut off all the so called created chances an time. India’s defense line were tested most of the time in the first half. Both the teams struggled to get the opener. A chance was created out of a gamble for the hosts when Jeje tried to charge on the ball which got stuck on a water log and was eventually cleared away from Jeje, but only as far as Sunil who tried loft the ball over the goalkeeper who was off his line. But Sunil hit the ball little more harder than required and sent the ball over the goalpost.
Fans turned in a huge numbers to support the boys and couple of celebrities as well, amidst the heavy rain. First half score was 0-0 as neither of the teams were able to get the break through. In the second half India dominated the game with more ball possession as the weather co-operated for the same and stopped raining. But in the 49th minute, visitors gave India a scare as Ovella Ochieng made a good run through the Indian defense line to take position himself for a good placement. But placing shot went inches away from the target. Immediately Kenya got a break through again, which was highlight of the previous chance, changing nothing on the score board.
In the 55th minute, Nazarey got in a good cross from far left wing into Kenya’s box to find Sunil. Sunil however failed to make a proper contact with the ball as he tried to volley the ball in. Pronoy Halder tried his luck with a long range effort in the 63rd minute, which almost looked like a break through for the Indians, but Kenyan custodian out stretched himself to palm the ball away.
It was finally in the 68th minute, the skipper got a chance to score his 60th goal in the national colors in his 100th appearance for India. It was a penalty he won for himself after he was brought down inside Kenya’s box by Kenyan defenders in the process of keeping him away from scoring. Sunil scored from the spot to put India on the lead. The second goal was scored by Jeje as he hammered a the ball from a close range in the 71st minute after a clearance mistake by the Kenyan defender.
In the ending few minutes, Kenya tried to knock India’s doors, but failed to make any damage as they failed to beat the strong defense line set up by Constantine. Sunil scored another in the extra time to seal it completely. In the 92nd minute, Balwant Singh managed to make a brilliant pass to his skipper who was on the run. Sunil, after three touches on the ball, calmly chipped the ball over the Kenyan keeper for the icing on the cake.
At full time, score was, India 3-0 Kenya.