India rode on Farukh Choudhary and skipper Sunil Chhetri's strikes in the second half to beat Nepal 2-1 in the second international friendly at the Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Chhetri set up substitute Farukh in the 62nd minute to put India ahead before the 37-year-old slotted in the second in the 80th minute. It was Chhetri's 75th international goal.
The first half saw Nepal cause danger to the Indian goal on a couple of occasions. In the 13th minute, Manish Dangi found himself in space in the penalty area but Chinglensana Singh tracked back and was alert to the danger to stop the shot.
Aashish Lama almost got a shot on target in the 28th minute but he could not connect from close range from a cross by Ayush Ghalan.
Igor Stimac had brought on Farukh to replace Bipin Singh at the break and it was the substitute who broke the deadlock with a calm finish in the 62nd minute.
Chinglensana swung in a curling cross from the left, which Sunil laid perfectly into the path of an unmarked Farukh, who placed it past the keeper and into the corner to give the Blue Tigers the lead.
Consequently, the match became extremely end-to-end, as Nepal began to push more men forward. Amrinder Singh made a good save in the 65th minute from a close-range header and three minutes later, Nawayug Shrestha played in Bishal Rai inside the penalty area, but his effort from 10 yards went wide of the goal. Manish had another opportunity for the hosts in the 72nd minute as he connected with the ball from a cross at the far post but did not place it on target.
With 15 minutes to play, Farukh and Sunil combined excellently up top, and Rahim was played in towards goal. However, he was denied a shooting opportunity because of a sliding tackle from the Nepali centre-half.
As the match approached its critical stage, Sunil doubled the Blue Tigers' advantage with a trademark finish – polishing off a fantastic counterattack. It was Nepal who were putting pressure with a free-kick in a dangerous area but Amrinder collected and played the ball to Thapa on the halfway line, who headed it on for a charging Sunil. The Indian skipper calmly approached the goal and sent Kiran the wrong way, before slotting the ball home to make it 2-0
Tej Tamang's hit from distance five minutes later reduced the deficit but Stimac's men held on to the lead to see out the win.
The first friendly against Nepal ended 1-1 on Thursday.
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