Intercontinental Cup 2018: India vs Chinese Taipei, 5 Talking Points
The Indian national football team kicked off the opening game of the Intercontinental Cup against the Chinese Taipei at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, India.
The four-nation tournament began with the two Asian sides kicking off proceedings as the other two sides - New Zealand and Kenya - will face each other later tomorrow. India were playing their first International fixture after their unbeaten streak came to an end against the Kyrgyz Republic in the Asian Cup qualifiers.
India's coach Stephen Constantine made a few changes to the line-up but fielded a strong side with Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua leading the way for the Blue Tigers in the attack. Gurpreet Singh manned the posts with the reliable duo of Sandesh Jhingan and Anas Edathodika operating in the defence. Subhashish Bose got the nod in the starting lineup ahead of the usually chosen Narayan Das.
Backed by a vociferous crowd, the Blue Tigers put in a solid performance in the match. Courtesy of a brilliant hat-trick by the captain Sunil Chhetri, who scripted a new record in the process, and two superb individual moments from Udanta Singh and Pronay Halder giving the Indians a comfortable 5-0 win.
#1 India looked in control of the game from the start
The Indian team had been unbeaten at the Mumbai Football Arena coming into the match and began with confidence from the get-go. The defenders moved the ball well from the back and even went in search of the attacking wingers Halicharan Narzary and Udanta Singh with long diagonal balls.
Pronay Halder operated just ahead of the defenders and was a commanding presence in the centre not allowing any Chinese Taipei attacks to develop. Anirudh Thapa played behind the attacking players and did well to get into good positions and was confident on the ball.
Thapa's run into the box after a typical Udanta Singh sprint on the right wing created a chance for Sunil Chhetri but the skipper's shot went wide to the left of the Taipei goal. That was one of the many opportunities which went to waste. However, they did not prove to be fatal in the end.