Breaking News: AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier – India beats Chinese Taipei 3-0
India came up with a stunning performance to trounce Chinese Taipei 3-0 in their opening game of the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifier today at the MBPJ Stadium in Malaysia. Going into the match as a favorite, the young India squad started dominating the proceedings right from the start.
Jeje Lalpekhlua, debuting for the India Senior drew the first blood in the 33rd minute when he got hold of a loose ball inside the box. Chhetri doubled the score line in the 80th minute before another debutant Jewel Raja hammered the last nail into Chinese Taipei’s coffin in the injury time.
The lively and confident looking Bob Houghton side attacked right from the beginning mainly from the flanks through Syed Rahim Nabi and Steven Dias, who were the main source of the ball into the box. Dominating the possession, the Bhangra Boys, tried to break open the East Asian defense without no success early on.
In the 10th minute, playing nice exchange passes, the Chinese Taipei boys came close to scoring before right back Govin Singh cleared the dangerous attack. On the counter, Steven Dias sends in a looping cross for the Captain who fell to the offside trap.
In the 20th minute, the Taipei central defender denied the Indian’s a take at the goal, after a good built up from Masid was passed on to Jeje who found Nabi on the left. With Chhetri and Dias inside the boz, Nabi crosses the ball before the Taipei’s central defender came to their rescue.5 minutes later, Nabi came close to breaking the deadlock when he sent a powerful shot inches wide of the near post.
India finally manages to find the back of the net in the 33rd minute through Jeje who with his poacher instinct latch on to a loose ball inside the box to give India the much needed goal. At the stroke of the half time, India came close to double the score line when Chinese Taipei’s Goalkeeper make a brilliant save of Sunil Chhetri’s shot.
India went into the break leading 1-0 with Nabi troubling the Taipei’s defender the most. The Chinese Taipei’s squad never looked threatening as the Chhetri’s lead side continued to dominate the proceedings in the second half also. At the hour mark, Jeje came close to scoring his second after he headed Nabi’s cross just over the bar.
However, the midfield duo of Rakesh Masid and Jagpreet Singh failed miserable as there was hardly any creativity and attacked from the midfield. Almost 90% of India’s attacked came from the flanks.
Producing some brilliant moves, India found their second goal in the 80th minute, this time the Skipper Sunil Chhetri scoring the goal. Chinese Taipei never recovered from the shackle and let in one more in the dying minutes of the match when another Indian Arrows star – Jewel Raja Sheikh pump in the third goal for the Indians.
With this win, India moves a step closer to the mission of qualifying for the AFC Challenge Cup 2012. But they still have a mounting task to overcome before the jubilation begins as they will still have to play Pakistan and Turkmenistan on March 23 and 25 respectively.