Jeje shows the way in India’s comeback win

India made optimum use of this friendly to give its players match time in a 2-1 win against the Mauritius.

India's Robin Singh celebrates goal against Mauritius in the Tri Nation series international friendly match at Andher sports complex in Mumbai.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Having shrugged off a tentative showing early on, a cohesive and a charged-up Indian team backed up its billing with a 2-1 comeback victory in the Hero Tri-Nation Tournament against Mauritius at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.

Crossing over to the second half on level terms against the nimble visitors, Balwant Singh asserted his presence in attack with a 62nd minute goal to put the home side in the lead. Balwant read a flick by Jeje Lalpekhlua, and slotted the ball on goal. The striker celebrated as the ball deflected in off the goalkeeper.

India made optimum use of this fixture to give players match time against the island nation. Stephen Constantine pulled out goalscorer Robin Singh, experienced goalkeeper Subrata Pal, pacy winger Jackchand Singh at half-time. He also took out playmaker Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Holicharan Narzary later on in the game.

Amrinder Singh showed a safe pair of hands coming on as a replacement for Pal. Nikhil Poojary, Mohammed Rafique and Jerry Lalrinzuala were the other substitutes used by the manager.

Mauritius showed skill and intent at the start, and deservedly went a goal ahead. Jeje Lalpekhlua proved elusive along with the Indian midfielders who raised their game after the half-time changes. The Indians outran the lowly ranked (160) islanders for the remainder of the friendly.

Lalpekhlua came off near the end to cheers for delightful moments on the pitch. Mahvir Singh got a look-in as the fifth and final substitute.

Constantine started the game with skipper Sandesh Jhingan, Muhammed Anas as central defenders and Narayan Das, Pritam Kotal manning the flanks. Veteran goalkeeper Subrata Pal, picked ahead of Amrinder Singh, made an early save from a shot by Jean Justin before getting beaten in the 14th minute. Mauritius made a move on the left where Joseph Kevin’s cross bounced off Narayan to fall nicely for Jean Jocelyn to fire past Pal.

Jhingan tried to get to the business end of a Eugeneson Lyngdoh free-kick, managed to float the ball beyond the goalkeeper but away from the goal. India broke free of anxiety in the midfield and loss of ball possesion through a delightful long pass by Rowlin Borges. The midfielder threaded a ball through the defence diagonally from the right. Robin Singh slipped past his marker, to reach the ball and beat goalkeeper Kevin Jean-Louis with a left-footed shot.

Scores: India 2 (Robin Singh 37, Balwant Singh 62) bt Mauritius 1 (Jean Jocelyny 14).

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