The Intercontinental cup saw it’s 4th match between India and New Zealand at the Mumbai Arena. Very much inexperienced of a side, New Zealand, having many players new to the side succeeded in defeating India by two goals to one. Probably the seven changes in Indian side proved to be the reason for their defeat. Though the result does not have any effect on India’s position in finals, it surely indicates that anything is possible in football. With a final place fixed this was India’s way to give new players a chance.
NZ and pressing effort
The all whites kept Indian team on feet and this match was all about their attack. In the first half the New Zealand took aerial root and in the second half most of the time ball was seen grounded. Playing his fourth International game Sarpreet Singh, netted the ball twice by able assistance of fellow players. The first player of Indian descent to play for the kiwis was instrumental in NZ win. Singh was adjudged ‘Hero of the match’ for the match winning effort. Meawhile, in the latter half coach Stephen Constantine brought in Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua but the damage was done. Surely an all around effort by the Kiwis saw them victorious.
Chhetri- the lone warrior
A legend and class apart from others, the Centurion Sunil Chhetri was playing his 101th game. In addition to all around effort his score in 47th minute, gave India the lead. Though the goal didn’t have the suave finish, unusual of Chhetri still it was an important one. Furthermore, Sunil Chhetri now has 62 goals, and behind Messi in international stats, by just two goals. The provided lead was short lived as Sarpreet Singh scored for the Kiwis in 49th minute. The 20 year old, Anirudh Thapa also showed his profess and garnered praise. The midfielder who plays for Chennaiyan FC in ISL, showed efficient display of his skills.
Takeaways from the game
The changes made by Indian team can be attributed the reason for its defeat. However, one cannot ignore the show put up by All Whites. Fitness is an aspect that is very crucial in this game. Pritam Kotal, the defender replacing Sandesh Jhingan was caught by fatigue. In the span of 90 minutes he was seen napping. This match was solely about New Zealand attack and Indian defense. The result shows that former got better of the latter. The competition nearing it’s end will see India competing in the finals against an opponent yet to be decided. We hope that the crowd support coming in huge numbers will boost the players and they will be in best of their performing mode on 10th June, the finals.