Chhetri breaks Bangladesh hearts
Sunil Chhetri once again broke Bangladesh hearts as his brace powered India to a 2-0 win over the men in red and green in a World Cup and Asian Cup qualifier at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha today.
The veteran striker ran down the middle and headed into the far post from a cross from the left flank by substitute Ashique Kuruniyan. Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman Zico was helpless against the the 79th-minute strike. Sunil then ensured the win in stoppage time with his second goal and fifth overall against Bangladesh.
India's win means Bangladesh's 18-year wait to beat India was prolonged while India finally defeated Bangladesh after three draws, winning a first match in 12 years since a 1-0 win against Bangladesh in the 2009 SAFF Championship in Dhaka.
Bangladesh looked a bit off-colour despite a brilliant start after Jamie Day made one change to the team that played out a draw against Afghanistan in their previous match, replacing the injured Sohel Rana with Manik Mollah.
As the match progressed, India, who started only four players that played in the 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, controlled the game with crisp passing and launched attacks from both flanks.
However, Bangladesh frustrated India repeatedly. Manvir Singh failed to beat Zico in the 15th minute and centre-back Riyadul Hasan Rafi cleared a header off the goalline in the 35th minute.
Bangladesh looked better going forward in the second half but were poor in defence, especially against set-pieces, with Indian forward Sunil Chhetri and Subashish Bose getting on the end of free headers but failing to hit the target.
However, the leaks in defence were finally exploited
and India hit two goals in the last 15 minutes to leave with their first win in the qualifiers.