India beat Kenya 2-0 to win the Intercontinental Cup 2018 2-0.
Earlier, Indian captain Sunil Chhetri was at his very best in the Intercontinental Cup Finals 2018 against Kenya. Going into the summit clash, India were favourites, not because they were playing at home, but also because India had got the better of the African nation. Needing a hat-trick to go past the legendary Lionel Messi, Sunil got on the scoresheet in just the 8th minute. It came off a free-kick taken by Anirudh Thapa from just outside the box, Sunil Chettri made space for himself, Thapa spotted it passed the ball perfectly to Chhetri in open space and that immaculate first touch from Chhetri found the back of the net.
That was not it, we felt India would defend after the first goal, but it seemed Sunil’s hunger was not over. He found the brace soon in the 28th-minute of the match. That too came off a great first touch, he controlled the ball and then the left foot took the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 for India.
The second goal took Sunil on equal terms with Messi in the highest number of international goals scored by active players list. Sunil needing another goal could not find it in the first half as India went into half-time with a 2-0 lead.
No prizes for guessing what was trending on Twitter:
In the 76the minute of the match, Kenya got a chance of a free-kick, it was placed to the top corner but Gurinder was up to the mark as he parried the ball for Kenya’s 8th corner. There were many edge-of-the-seat actions, as India went into a shell trying to hold onto their 2-0 lead. Kenya pressed and came close on a number of occasions, but failed to convert, thanks to a brilliant defense line from India. Otieno played his heart out and was the best visiting player. Jhingan for India was also rock-solid in the back half, not allowing any room to the visitors.
If it was a Sunil-show in the first half, it was Gurinder who kept Kenya at bay with some amazing saves. He was also the only goalkeeper in the tournament to maintain a clean sheet Kenyan’s did not have the finish when it mattered and that is what may have cost them.
India was pushed to the limit before they eventually won the match 2-0, Sunil Chhetri as expected was the difference. Sunil came close to a hat-trick in the dying minutes but it was supposed to stay that way.
For India, this was a great preparatory pad for India ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.
Sunil Chhetri: It was a team effort and a great preparation leading up to the AFC Asia Cup. I do not want to take the Messi thing seriously. He is a great player. Thank you to the crowds for coming to support us in huge numbers. hope to expect the same kind of following in the future.