India beats Cambodia 3-2 in friendly

Indian coach Stepehen Constantine opted for an attacking line-up that featured only two recognised midfielders — Rowllin Borges and Eugeneson Lyngdoh — and four strikers in Chhetri, C.K Vineeth, Robin Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

India stepped up a gear in the second half and AIFF Player of the Year Jeje scored in the 49th minute — assisted by winger Jackichand Singh — to give his team the lead   -  Ritu Raj Konwar (File photo)

Goals from Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sandesh Jhingan saw India beat Cambodia 3-2 in an international friendly at the Olympic Stadiun in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. The victory also saw India break the jinx of not having won an international friendly since 2005.

Indian coach Stepehen Constantine opted for an attacking line-up that featured two recognised midfielders — Rowllin Borges and Eugeneson Lyngdoh — and four strikers in Chhetri, C.K Vineeth, Robin Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia. Mohun Bagan and Delhi Dynamos defender Anas Edathodika made his international debut, partnering Arnab Mondal in central defence.

India’s highest goalscorer, Chhetri, calmly slotted a Eugeneson Lyngdoh corner in 35th minute to give the visiting team the lead but the host pulled one back immediately when Khoun Laboravy found the back of the net in the 38th minute.

India stepped up a gear in the second half and AIFF Player of the Year Jeje scored in the 49th minute. Jackichand Singh, running down the middle essayed it for Jeje, who evaded the rival defence and tapped it into the net to silence the 70,000 strong crowd. Coach Constantine’s men kept pushing forward and central defender Jhingan’s header, from assist from Jeje, increased India’s lead in 52nd minute. Chan Vathanaka made it a tricky last quarter of the match for the Indians when he scored Cambodia’s second in the 62nd minute but the visiting team held tight to secure the match.

The victory did come as a welcome relief for India which is playing its first match after mauling Puerto Rico in September 2016. But as the side gear up for the crucial match in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifier against Myanmar, Constantine will have to plug in a few areas in the next few days.

National Coach Stephen Constantine admitted the “team needs to start quicker,” when you play an International match.

Moments after India beat Cambodia, its first-ever win in an International Friendly since June 2005, Constantine said: “Every time you play for the National Team, you want to win. Results matter and it is nice to continue the winning streak.”

“Winning away from home has been our strength and the fact that we won our first away International Friendly after June 2005 makes it all the sweeter. We had some good moments in the match and the boys need to get used to playing with each other,” he stated.

“We need to start quicker. It is a must in International Football. We have a habit of taking it a bit lightly and starting the game slowly. We can’t afford to do that. If you do that, you bring down your own downfall,” he maintained.

“At the end of day, it’s a win and I am very happy for the boys and all who have bene involved in the process. But there is no place to go over the moon. We have a sterner test next week, an acid test in fact,” he said referring to the match against Myanmar on March 28, 2017.

 

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