Chhetri, Jeje sparkle as Indians post super win

Chhetri, Jeje sparkle as Indians post super win

For India, Chhetri scored twice --  in the 39th and 53rd minute -- and fellow striker Jeje found the back of the net in 47th minute. For Malaysia, Mohammad Sali Safee scored a double in the 45th and 59th minute.

The Indians played positive football and dominated proceedings in both the sessions. In fact, the Indians could have won by a bigger margin but for some inept finishing.

The midfield combination of Baldeep Singh, Francis Fernandes, Rocus Lamare and Lalrindika Ralte combined well and never allowed the rivals to settle down. Baldeep was a revelation in central midfield and stayed the pivot on which the Indian team revolved. Captain Rahim Nabi  also played an inspirational game.

The first goal came to Chhetri, who ran behind the Malaysia defence and latched onto a long pass from Nabi, to calmly slot it past the rival goalkeeper.

Malaysia, however, equalised just before halftime through Safee after he finished off a fine team move. India jumped back into the lead early in the second half when Jeje, who along with Chhetri is wanted by Scottish club Rangers, tapped in off a cross by Francis Fernandes.

Chhetri increased the lead in the 53rd minute with Fernandes again the creator. the midfielder’s cross was deflected by Malaysian defender Jeevanatham, but the ball fell kindly to Chhetri who made no mistake in the finish.

Safee pulled one back just before the hour mark, but India gamely held on to record coach Savio Medeira’s first win since taking charge.

Medeira was a pleased man. “The boys played their hearts out,” he said. “It’s good to end with a victory. We did make quite a few changes in the playing XI and it paid off,” he added. “The SAFF Championship is knocking at the door and we needed to give a chance to everyone to gauge their match temperament.”

“We didn’t get much time to prepare for the match but the boys rose to the occasion.”