India won the Intercontinental Cup hosted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with a scoresheet of 2-0 against Lebanon.
The Intercontinental Cup is a four-nation competition organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). This competition is different from the now-defunct tournament of the same name, which was a precursor to the FIFA Club World Cup.
India were the winners of the inaugural tournament in Mumbai in 2018, beating Kenya in the final. The other two teams were New Zealand who finished third and Chinese Taipei.
In 2019, India finished 4th with a solitary point. North Korea became champions by beating Tajikistan. Syria emerged third in the competition.
This year, India hosted the third edition of this tournament at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. The 2023 competition featured India, Lebanon, Vanuatu and Mongolia and followed the traditional round-robin group phase. The one-legged final then involved the top two teams in the table.
India broke the jinx
The Indian Football team defeated Lebanon 2-0 to win this year’s Intercontinental Cup. It was India’s first win over Lebanon after a break of 46 years and second in eight meetings. India had won the first meeting in 1977 as the next six meetings saw three draws and three losses for the host.
Lallianzuala, the new champion
Indian captain Sunil Chhetri scored the first goal in the first minute of the second half. Forward Lallianzuala Chhangte assisted in the first goal and also scored the second one in the 66th minute to double India’s lead. The youngster was declared Man of the Match.
Six matches without conceding a goal
India played four matches in the Intercontinental Cup without conceding a single goal. It extended India’s streak of clean sheets to six. The last time India went six games without conceding a goal was in 1951-52.
India to move up
With this win, India, currently at No 101, is expected to rise in the FIFA table ranking as they beat Lebanon who are placed at 99.