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India down Nepal in international friendly, warm up for Asian Cup qualifier

Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua scored for India against Nepal in an international football friendly as they recorded their seventh victory on the trot to enter next Tuesday’s match against Kyrgyz Republic in Bangalore high on confidence.

football Updated: Jun 06, 2017 22:16 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Indian football team,Nepal football team,Asian Cup
India and Nepal players in action during an international football friendly in Mumbai on Tuesday.(AIFF)

India brushed aside Nepal 2-0 with second-half goals in an international friendly at the Andheri Sports Complex on Tuesday.

India coach Stephen Constantine had said on Monday that besides getting a win against Nepal, the match will also be an opportunity for the playing XI to stake claim to make it into the starting line-up for the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier against Kyrgyz Republic next week.

Constantine would have been satisfied with the effort put in by his wards at the Andheri Sports Complex.

Defender Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua were the scorers for the Blue Tigers as they recorded their seventh victory on the trot to enter next Tuesday’s match against Kyrgyz Republic in Bangalore high on confidence.

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One-sided clash

Barring a few hiccups, India never put a foot wrong as they strangled Nepal with a clinical display as desired by their coach.

From goalkeeper and stand-in skipper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to Jeje at the top of the attack, everyone worked well. And the backline of Narayan Das, Anas Edathodika, Jhingan and Pritam Kotal never put a foot wrong. Mohammad Rafique and Eugenson Lyngdoh controlled the midfield well.

The only thing that will worry Constantine is the finishing. India created chances in abundance but couldn’t convert them. Robin Singh was the guilty party, especially in the first half, as he even failed to hit the target despite the best of chances falling to him.

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The Noida-born forward had three good chances in the space of 12 minutes in the first half. The first one came in the 23rd minute when Jackichand Singh put in a beautiful cross, but Robin headed it wide.

Lyngdoh came on for an injured Rowlin Borges in the 29th minute and soon started to make an impact, releasing Robin Singh with a sleek pass, but he again failed to hit the target. He again headed wide in the 35th minute to continue with his wayward ways and was eventually substituted at half-time.

Finally striking

Despite dominating the proceeding from the first minute, India had to wait till the 60th minute to break the deadlock. Jhingan, standing on the edge of the box, finished off a nice move with a neat lob to the top right, giving Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu no chance.

The momentum was with India as they continued to push up in search of the second to secure the tie and it came in the 79th minute when Jeje slotted home from a nice cutback by Rafique.

Nepal also had a couple of opportunities, but couldn’t score. The best one came in the dying minutes of the first half when Sandhu’s decision to leave the box could have backfired but he was lucky as Nepal forward Nawayug Shrestha missed an open goal after doing all the hard work.

First Published: Jun 06, 2017 21:44 IST