International Friendly: India Extends Their Winning Streak After Beating Nepal By 2-0
India clinched a comfortable 2-0 victory against Nepal in an international friendly match on Tuesday night at Mumbai Football Arena. Before the meeting against Kyrgyzstan next Tuesday at Bengaluru in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, it’s a great motivating and positive victory for India.
After the first half ended goal-less, Sandesh Jhingan broke the deadlock on an hour mark while Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the second goal in the 78th minute of the match.
The picture was worse for Nepal even before conceding the second goal, when their skipper Biraj Mahajan was directly sent off after making a bad challenge on Bikash Jairu by holding his back.
Earlier, India was lucky to not concede a goal just before the final whistle of the first half as Anjan Bista missed an open chance. It was the only positive chance for Nepal while India mostly dominated the match.
Stephen Constantine used a 4-1-3-2 formation in the absence of skipper Sunil Chhetri. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was leading the Indian side while Holicharan Narzary was stationed in left midfield in the absence of Sunil Chhetri. Mohammed Rafique and Jackichand Singh were the other starting midfielders while Robin Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua were the two forwards.
On the other hands, Nepal began with a 4-4-2 formation with the leadership of Biraj Mahajan.
India had several chances to take the lead in the first half. The hosts began with very positive attacking football, while Nepal was struggling to produce any positive move.
On 5 minutes, Indian team appealed for a penalty after Robin Singh was brought down inside the penalty box but the referee Pranjal Banerjee didn’t entertain that.
In the first 15 minutes, India totally dominated on the pitch with their attacking moves. After that, Nepal was slowly looking better, however, nothing was dangerous for India.
Robin Singh had a real chance to put India 1-0 up on 24 minutes. Jackichand Singh’s cross from the right found Robin whose header went just off target.
Just before the half an hour mark, Rowllin Borges went off the field due to a head injury as he was replaced with Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
During that period, Eugeneson’s through ball found Robin Singh who tried to score from a tight right-angle but his effort went well over the goal.
On 33 minutes, Jeje missed an opportunity to place a shot on goal, while at the next moment Eugeneson’s attempt blocked by the visitors’ defence.
After few moments, Robin had another chance as Pritam Kotal produced a fantastic cross for the East Bengal forward but this time his header went over the bar.
In the first half, Robin Singh mostly disappointed with his sloppy finishing as India was well-deserved to lead the scoreline.
However, India had a great fortune to not concede a shocking goal just before the end of the first half. Indian goalie Gurpreet charged down on the ball against Anjan Bista but failed on it as the Nepalese forward had an open chance. But, ultimately Bista missed out that opportunity as his shot went off the target.
Otherwise, Nepal footballers not put much trouble on Indian defence.
At the beginning of the second half, Daniel Lalhimpuia replaced Robin Singh while Bikash Jairu came in for Jackichand Singh.
On 53 minutes, Indian goalie Gurpreet made a great save. Nepalese striker Sujal Shrestha tested Gurpreet with a fine long shot from outside the box, which was superbly saved by the Indian goalie with a dive on his top left.
Apart from that, India was looking more positive aggressive from the beginning of the second half. Indian forwards were creating more pressure in the visitors’ defence box which were producing positive chances for the hosts.
After the back-to-back chances of Jeje and Jairu were stopped by the Nepal defenders and the goalie respectively, India finally took the 1-0 lead in the 60th minute through the Jhingan’s goal.
After successfully defended the earlier free-kick by the visitors’, Jairu lobbed the return ball inside the penalty box which was taken down by Jeje with his chest and produced a great chance for Jhingan. The Indian defender didn’t disappoint as his shot beat the visitors’ goalie and hit the net.
8 minutes later, Nepal went down to 10-man as their captain Biraj Mahajan was shown a direct red card due to a bad challenge on Jairu. Indian goalie Gurpreet raised a long ball for Jairu who had a great chance to extend the lead. But the Nepal skipper took down Jairu with his hands just outside the penalty box, to deny that chance. That challenge was enough for a red card, which was shown immediately to Biraj.
However, Eugeneson missed that close free-kick chance from the 18-yard distance as his shot was blocked by the wall.
Later, Jeje secured the victory for India by extending the lead to 2-0 on 78 minutes. After a fantastic run, Mohammed Rafique put a cross for Jeje who made the clinical finish.
After that, India still tried to extend the lead but failed to success on it.
However, it was a comfortable victory for India who mostly dominated over their neighbours. It is India’s 7th consecutive victory. With this victory, India will now positively focus on their next important challenge against Kyrgyzstan.
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