India vs Cambodia football friendly: Chhetri, Jeje, Jhinghan score in narrow win

India football team was made to work hard for the 3-2 win against lower-ranked Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Sunil Chhetri (36th minute), Jeje Lalpekhlua (50th) and Sandesh Jhinghan (54th) scored for India while Khuon Laboravy (37th) and Chan Vathanaka (62nd) did for the hosts

football Updated: Mar 23, 2017 11:18 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
India vs Cambodia,Indian football team,Sunil Chhetri
Jeje Lalpekhula, who came in as a substitute, scored in the second half for India football team in the friendly match against Cambodia in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. The other goals in the 3-2 win came from captain Sunil Chhetri and Sandesh Jhinghan (Getty Images)

India made heavy weather of their 3-2 win overlower-ranked Cambodia in a FIFA international football friendly at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.

India will play Myanmar in their AFC Asian Cup qualifiers opener on March 28, and this game was billed as a dress rehearsal.

Read more | I am happy to play alongside Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua: Robin Singh

The visitors took time to dust the rustiness off their play after missing out on international football for almost six months. India last played in September against Puerto Rico, a match they won 4-1.

Talismanic forward Sunil Chhetri (36th) opened the scoring for the tourists before Khuon Laboravy (37th) equalised a minute later to help the home team go into halftime 1-1.

Substitutes Jeje Lalpekhlua (50th) and Sandesh Jhinghan (54th) struck in quick succession in the second half to pull away but Stephen Constantine’s wards were kept on tenterhooks till the end of the game as Chan Vathanaka (62nd) pulled one back to make it 3-2.

Read more | Qualifying for Asian Cup would reflect consistency: India coach Stephen Constantine

India took the lead after some poor play to begin with. Chhetri scored under fortituous circumstances as the home goalkeeper Um Sereyroth completely missed Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s corner leaving his Bengaluru FC colleague with the easiest of jobs of tapping into an empty net.

The jubilation lasted only a minute as Cambodia, ranked 173rd compared to India’s 132nd, levelled through Laboravy, who netted at the near post from a Prak Mony Udom low cross which skipper and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu should have dealt with.

In the second half, India started with a lot of venom and were rewarded within five minutes when Lalpekhlua found the back of the net after Jackichand Singh dribbled past home team players to set up the Mohun Bagan striker whose strike hit the inside of the post and went in.

Read more | U-17 World Cup: FIFA urges organisers to increase pace of preparations in Delhi

One minute later, Robin Singh should have made it 3-1 but failed to pull the trigger in time after his former club teammate Lyngdoh teed him up from a brilliant counter attack.

But from the resultant corner, Jhinghan leapt highest to nod in India’s third goal.

There was daylight between the hosts and the visitors for 10 minutes though, as Vathanaka struck from outside the box with no one closing him down. Skipper Gurpreet was at full stretch but failed to save the shot as the ball nestled into the bottom right corner of the net.

Read more | Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger denies rumours of PSG deal, says ‘fake news’

India tried hard to increase the deficit against an opponent they had thrashed 6-0 the last time the two sides crossed swords, but their early fizz seemed to have evaporated as Cambodia pressed hard to draw level for the second time in the game.

In the end, there were no further goals as the referee blew the final whistle with the score at 3-2.

First Published: Mar 22, 2017 20:29 IST