Sandesh, Jeje score in India's win over Nepal

Nepal produced bursts of resistance, fought for possession till the end, but it wasn't enough to beat India, which attacked relentlessly.

Sandesh Jhinghan leaps in delight after scoring the first goal for India.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India captain Gurpreet Singh’s poise and positioning under the bar and his team's confidence on the pitch was reflected in a 2-0 victory over Nepal. Two second-half goals, by Sandesh Jhinghan and Jeje Lalpekhlua, enabled the home team quell the gritty visitors in a friendly at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Jhinghan struck the first blow in the 60th minute, slotting home a ball nodded down by a teammate into his path. Jeje’s strike in the 79th minute, off an assist from Mohmmed Rafique, showed the difference in ability and experience between the two sides. Nepal produced bursts of resistance, fought for possession till the end, but did not dominate at any stage.

Nepal suffered a blow when captain and defender Biraj Mahajan went out with a red card. He fouled Bikash Jairu in desperation to stop the Indian substitute bursting through the defence while chasing captain Gurpreet's goal-kick.

Nepal gathered confidence
moving the ball around in the second half. Sujal Shrestha found space to attempt a snapshot at target. Gurpreet showed his class by narrowing the angle and stretched out to his left and punched the ball away from danger.

The home team camped in the rival half in the early stage, forcing Nepal into closing defensive ranks. Constantine made a change, replacing Rowlin Borges in the midfield with Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Robin Singh popped up for two headers, both times nodding wide.

Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Limbu was kept busy. Sandesh moved up for a flag kick by Mohammed Rafique. The defence cleared it. Then, a floater by Raifique, once again from the corner, found Sandesh in position for a header, but he was pulled up for a foul.

India survived a scare when custodian Gurpreeet advanced far to clear a threat. Nepal striker Nawayug  Shrestha was in pursuit, chasing a defence-splittting pass  by a teammate from behind. Gurpreet escaped punishment for failue as the Nepal striker’s attempt towards an empty goal flew wide.

Score: India 2 (Sandesh Jhingan 60, Jeje Lalpekhlua 79) beat Nepal 0.

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