152-ranked India outclassed 114-ranked Puerto Rico as they clinched a memorable victory by 4-1 over a higher ranked side at Andheri Sports Complex (Mumbai).
Visitors Puerto Rico started with attacking mindset. India went behind with an early penalty goal scored by Emanuel Sanchez. In the 7 minutes, India’s Jackichand Singh made a foul to visitors’ Elliot Velez into the box, which cost a penalty for the hosts. Sanchez made no mistake to open the account for Puerto Rico.
But after that goal, India slowly started to build up pressure into the opponent’s half. Later, Slowly but steadily India took control on the field.
In the 17th minute, Narayan Das equalised for the hosts with the help of an excellent free-kick from Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri took a good free-kick which unluckily hit the bar and deflected to the unmark Narayan Das. Das made no mistake to net the ball.
In the 24th minute, India took the lead from another smart free-kick from Sunil Chhetri. Once again that free-kick hit on the post but this time, the ball went inside the goal.
On 33th minute, Jeje Lalpekhlua added another goal for India with a header. Pritam Kotal made a good cross which Chhetri gave a headed pass to Jeje and Jeje netted the ball successfully with a brilliant header.
In the first half, the visitors’ defence had hardly any answers against India’s attackers.
In the second half, the picture was no different as India looked in control on the pitch.
In the 57th minutes, Jackichand Singh extended the lead to 4-1 for India with a good finish. Jeje made a good cross to Eugenson Lyngdoh whose header went to Jackichand’s foot. Jacki hit a strong shot towards the goal which the visitors’ goalkeeper failed to stop.
Puerto Rico tried to reduce the scoreline deficit but those efforts were not enough. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu mostly looked smart and was alert under the bar while Indian defence also looked better as the time went on.
On the other hand, India had several chances to extend the lead further but failed on those chances.
Overall, India performed very well as it was hardly looked that they were playing against the higher-ranked team. The final ball possession was 50-50 which clearly showed how Indians made difficult to the visitors. Indian team succeeded with 11 shots on target out of 16 shots while Puerto Rico succeeded with only 6 shots on target out of 13 shots.
With this win, India will surely climb up in the FIFA rankings soon. This match has shown that Indian team is ready to take big challenges in the international football as now AIFF need to organise more international football for the Indian team in near future.