The Indian men’s football team head coach Igor Stimac had asked his team to put up a much better performance than the one in the first friendly on Thursday. He didn’t exactly get that for most part of the match but he won’t complain as they delivered a win for him. India beat Nepal 2-1 in their second international football friendly on Sunday with Farukh Choudhary and Sunil Chhetri scoring the goals for India. India were not very impressive throughout the match but two big moments saw Farukh and Sunil find the back of the net and India walked away with the win.
India’s first half performance was not any better than the first 45 minutes they played on Thursday. Once again Nepal were threatening the higher-ranked visitors and taking the game to them while India failed to produce much. Stimac went for a number of changes to the starting line-up after the first friendly but that did not really show in the first half.
India were slow off the mark and struggled to find spaces and create moves as Nepal held tight. India once again did not show the sharpness that was required off them – something they would want come the SAFF Championships in October and the Asian Cup qualifiers later.
Just before half time, Seriton Fernandes whipped in a fantastic cross for Sunil Chhetri, whose header was just off the mark.
At the start of the second half, Stimac brought in Farukh in place of Bipin and once again his change worked. In the 61st minute, Chinglensana Singh make a fantastic long ball towards Chhetri who directed his header towards an unmarked Farukh. The Mumbai City FC man made no mistake and slotted the ball home to give India the lead.
Even after India’s goal, Nepal had two big chances to equalise but the home team missed the sitters and was made to rue it. Nepal were doing everything right except their finishing.
In the 80th minute, India executed a perfect counter-attacking move when Amrinder Singh punched out a ball towards Anirudh Thapa, who released Chhetri with a fantastic through ball. Chhetri ran up the pitch and finished the move by scoring the second goal.
Seven minutes, Nepal gave themselves a bit of hope when Tej Tamang scored an absolute stunner from long range out of nowhere but it was not enough as India got the win.
Even as India managed the win, their defence was not convincing at all and had Nepal finished better they would have won the match today. India need to work heavily on their defence and transition play between the midfield and forward line. The forwards also need to display much more sharpness in their movement.