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Mumbai respond to Chhetri’s call; India win against Kenya in front of a full house

India won their second match in the Intercontinental Cup against Kenya by 3-0 in front of a packed Mumbai Football Arena. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, playing in his 100tth international math, scored a brace. Indian forwrd, Jeje Lalpekhlua, scored the other goal. With this win India has been through to the final of the tournament.

Sunil Chhetri’s heartfelt plea to fans to be in the Football stadium to support the Indian team created magic as fans poured into the Mumbai Football Arena despite heavy shower. Chhetri had posted an emotional video on Twitter, after India’s first match against Chinese Taipei, pleading to fans to “abuse us, criticise us but please come to watch the Indian national team play.” Impotantly, India won that match by 5-0 in which Chhetri himself scored a hat-trick, his third one in an international match.

Prior to the start of the match, Sunil Chhetri was being accorded the guard of honour by his teammates.Then he was awarded a silver plaque by AIFF that was handed to him by his mentor, Baichung Bhutia. The first half went goalless as both team tried to guard their post wit less attacking ways. But the second half was completely different. India went into attacking mood against the physically strong Kenyans. In the 65th minute of he play Sunil Chhetri was brought down inside the box resulting in a penalty kick for the Indians. Chhetri made no mistake and pushed the ball into the net giving India a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, Jeje scored the second goal from a half volley giving enough reason for the spectators to go berserk. In the added-on time of five minutes, Chhetri showed his class by individually taking the ball to the Kenyan box and scoring the third goal of the match. With this goal Chhetri total international goal tally reached 61 placing him just behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among active players.

After the match, Chhetri and his teammates took a round of the stadium thanking one and all who came wholeheartedly to support the Indian team. India will next play New Zealand in their third match on 7th June 2018.

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