Asian Cup 2019: Sunil Chhetri's strike against Thailand nominated for group stage's best goal
What's the Story?
Sunil Chhetri's goal against Thailand has been nominated by the AFC- the highest governing body of football in Asia- as one of the best goals of the group stages of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. As of this writing, China's Wu Lei is leading the pack followed closely by Iran's Saman Ghoddos in the second position.
In case you don't know...
India's talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri drew first blood for the Blue Tigers in their group stage opener against Thailand when he bulged the back of the net with a well-taken penalty in the 27th minute.
Teerasil Dangda equalized for the War Elephants in the 33rd minute before Chhetri pulled one back after smothering the ball home from just inside the penalty box. India went on to win the match 4-1 with Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua piling further misery on Thailand.
The heart of the matter
While Sunil Chhetri's first goal was a historic one as it allowed the Bengaluru FC captain to overtake Lionel Messi in the list of active international goalscorers' list, the second one required more panache and finesse.
The goalscorer initiated the attack with an incisive pass towards right winger Udanta Singh who let it off for Ashique Kuruniyan. The FC Pune City forward failed to control the ball as a result of which it rolled towards no one man's land. Before a Thailand defender could capitalize on the 21-year-old's mistake, Sunil Chhetri sprinted from the blindside and rocketed the ball home past the hapless goalkeeper.
The goal caught AFC's eyes and they have nominated it as one of the best goals of the group stages of the tournament. The highest governing body of football in Asia has now left it to the fans' discretion to select the winner.
The fans can vote for the best goal of the group stage by clicking on the following link. Although AFC hasn't announced the deadline, the voting lines should close anytime before Sunday as the knockout phase of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup would begin by then.
Sunil Chhetri is currently sixth in the leaderboard, amassing more than 15,000 votes. Considering that India is the second most populous nation in the world and fans decide the winner, the living legend should finish comfortably in the top three.
Published 18 Jan 2019, 23:20 IST