Intercontinental Cup 2018: India vs New Zealand, 5 Talking Points
India and New Zealand played out a thoroughly entertaining game of football in Thursday's Intercontinental Cup clash. At the end of the clash, the game finished 1-2 to the Kiwis.
Stephen Constantine had made seven changes as his team had virtually secured a place in the final and India had taken the lead courtesy of a freak goal from their captain, Sunil Chhetri. The captain thus netted the 62nd international goal of his career but could not inspire his team to a victory.
New Zealand, who had made four changes in their line-up, replied instantly with a goal of their own. The visitors secured all three points late on, courtesy of a clever goal from Dyer in the 85th minute. In doing so, he handed India their first loss of the tournament.
The All Whites thus went top of the table with six points from two matches. India also have the same number of points in their kitty but the Blue Tigers are placed second (New Zealand are ahead on head-to-head results).
Meanwhile, Jeje reached a landmark in his career as he was presented with his 50th international cap. The Mizo sniper was initially named on the bench but he was substituted in place of an ineffective Balwant Singh after the halfway mark.
Here are the major talking points from tonight's match.
#1 India under the cosh from the very first second
The fans once again turned in numbers, anticipating yet another dominating performance from the Blue Tigers. However, it was the Kiwis who took the initiative tonight, managing to create three clear opportunities inside the first two minutes of the game.
New Zealand played with clarity. Time and again, they targeted India's right wing, whipping in dangerous crosses with relative ease. A large part of this was down to the home sides tactic of defending narrowly, hoping to pile on the numbers in the middle of the park.
As a result, New Zealand surprisingly were under no pressure on the wings and put this to good use in the first half. Stand-in-keeper, Amrinder Singh didn't look absolutely confident in dealing with the aerial balls and this further added to his team's early troubles.