India produced an outstanding performance to see off a higher ranked Puerto Rico side by 4 goals to 1. It initially seemed to be heading downhill for the Blue Tigers after they trailed early courtesy a Sanchez penalty but they struck back instantly thanks to a well-placed volley by Narayan Das. The equaliser sparked India into life and there was just no looking back. Two more quick-fire goals handed India a commanding half-time lead and they added to that with a Jackichand Singh volley at the back post early in the second half.
The victory is set to see India rise in the FIFA rankings while it is back to the drawing board for the Puerto Ricans.
Take a look at how the Indian players fared tonight:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu: 7.5/10
Handed the captain’s armband for today’s clash, Gurpreet was solid between the posts. Although he did concede a goal early on it was from an unstoppable penalty. The young keeper was a commanding presence from corners and set pieces, constantly charging off his line to claim the ball. The 24-year-old also made a world class stop at 2-1 to keep the Blue Tigers in the lead.
Pritam Kotal: 7/10
Pritam was consistent if not spectacular tonight. On the offensive third, he produced a couple of decent crosses into the box while in defence he was not faced with much of a challenge.
Arnab Mondal: 7/10
Arnab had a steady game alongside Sandesh in the defence. Although he was caught out of position a couple of times, he also made a few key interceptions in the first half which broke down the Puerto Rico attacks.
Sandesh Jhingan: 8/10
As solid as ever at the back, Jhingan was India’s rock today. A couple of well-timed tackles early on set the tone for the game. His understanding with fellow central defender Arnab Mondal kept Puerto Rico down to just a goal.
Narayan Das: 8/10
Narayan Das got India back into the game with a well-placed volley and was energetic on the left flank. Constantly bombing forward in support of the attackers, Das was equally adept at both offence and defence and had a game to remember.
Jackichand Singh: 8/10
Jackichand did not have his shooting boots on in the first half and had a poor start to the game conceding an early penalty. He did, however, provide the side with an outlet and often led the side’s counter attacks. The 24-year-old winger had a great second half and managed to get on the scoresheet when he scored a great 4th goal for India which all but killed off the Puerto Rico challenge.
Pronoy Halder: 6/10
Halder blew hot and cold in the first half. He had a good understanding with Lyngdoh in the centre of the park and produced a few key passes but a poor challenge earned him a yellow card following which he was withdrawn at half-time.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh: 8.5/10
Lyngdoh ran the midfield with aplomb often driving through the heart and setting up passes for his strikers. He also provided a key assist for Jackichand’s goal early in the second half which killed off the game.
Bikash Jairu: 7/10
Bikash had a steady game on the wing pinging in a few decent crosses. The 34-year-old won India’s free kick which led to their second goal and also often tracked back to help out the defence
Sunil Chhetri: 9.5/10
Chhetri was by far India’s best player tonight. The 32-year-old scored the second goal from a beautifully taken free kick and also provided the assist for the opening goal when his free kick struck the post and landed at the feet of Narayan Das. Chettri was a constant threat to the Puerto Rico defense, playing off the shoulder and making space for his teammates. Chettri scored his 51st International goal taking him to 6th on the list of top active international goal scorers.
Jeje Lalpekhlua: 8.5/10
Jeje scored India’s third goal and like Chhetri was a constant threat to the defence. His link up play with Chhetri and Jackichand was top class and he could easily have had a couple more on another night. His first touch on the day let him down a couple of times in the final third but overall he produced a fine performance. He also outmuscled the Puerto Rico defence to set up Lyngdoh which eventually led to India’s fourth goal.
Holicharan Narzary: 5/10
Holicharan was energetic if ineffective after coming on in the second half. He was extremely sloppy in possession and often gave the ball away. His crosses too often found the keepers gloves than the head of a teammate.
Rowllin Borges: 7/10
Borges was energetic and dynamic after his introduction and made his presence felt all over the pitch. His passing range was a joy to watch and he constantly pinged balls wide to the wingers, building attacks and setting up teammates.
Sumeet Passi: 4.5/10
Passi had a game to forget. The 21-year old has been touted as the future of Indian football but was extremely poor today. Sumeet did not gel with the team like the others and often made the wrong decisions at the wrong time. He was also lethargic in his movement and was the worst Indian player on the field.
Seityasen Singh: N/A
Daniel Lalhlimpuia: N/A
Germanpreet Singh: N/APublished 03 Sep 2016, 22:53 IST