By Ujjal Sarkhel
Mumbai: Young Team India routed a higher ranked Puerto Rico 4-1 in an international friendly match played at Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Blue Tigers fell behind early to an Emanuel Sanchez (8th) strike but replied only eight minutes later through Narayan Das (16th) and then two quick goals from Sunil Chettri (24th) and Jeje Lalpekhlua (33rd) give them a two goal advantage before and Jackichand Singh (59th) put the final nail in the coffin.
Now if we talk about the match from first minute, Puerto Rico started the game with very well aggressive mode. They placed some good attack by using flanks putting the Indian defense under serious threat in the initial minutes.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 8th minute from a spot kick. Jackichand fouled a Puerto Rico man inside the box which referee gave penalty to the visitors. Striker Sanchez did no mistake to score from the spot kick.
Having conceded, India, who started with Sunil and Jeje upfront, dominated majority of the proceedings looking for the equaliser. In the 17th minute, Bikash Jairu was brought down just on the edge of the box and Sunil shouldered the duty to taking the free-kick. His right footed effort hit the woodeork but left back Narayan scored with the follow up giving the rival custodian no chance.
The goal gave the Stephen Constantine-coached side much-needed confidence as they stormed ahead via Sunil. Andrea tripped down Sunil at the edge of the box which earned a free-kick for India and Sunil did no mistake to curl into the top left corner in the 24th minute.
After taking the lead India looked more dangerous as they placed a host of attacks in the Puerto Rico box and Jeje once again showed his goal scoring ability in the 33rd minute. Sunil after receiving a long ball from Pritam Kotal fed it to Jeje who headed home to make the scoreline steeper for the visitors.
The boys in the blue headed towards the dressing room with a handsome lead of 3-1.
India introduced Rowllin Borges and Halicharan Narzary at the expenses of Bikash Jairu and Pronay Halder at the begining of the second session.
Halicharan made a immediate impact and almost got an assist in the 47th minute, but his long ball was too heavy for Eugeneson Lyngdoh who was trying to cut in from the right flank.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico went agonisingly close through substitute Ramos but the woodwork came in for India’s help.
Around the hour mark Jackichand Singh finally got his name on the scoresheet when he smashed the roof of the net. Jeje delivered a delightful cross from the left to Eugeneson who just flicked it for Jackichand and the winger slotted home.
In the remainder of the game, Puerto Rico did show some excellent moves in patches but they could not convert chances as India held on for a well-deserved 4-1 win.