It was a night to remember for Indian Football fans after their national team won the Hero Tri-Nation Torunament 2023 by registering two wins and topping the chart after a win over Kyrgyzstan today at Khuman Lampak Stadium, Manipur on March 28, 2023. It was a commanding win by the team lead by Sunil Chhetri from the goals of Sandesh Jhingan and a penalty goal by Chhetri itself.
We had an analysis on what to expect from the game and here we take a look at 5 important key points to note from the game.
Imphal shines in dark
Khuman Lampak Stadium, Imphal situated in the capital city of Manipur has once again amazed the whole country just because of the atmosphere the fans created in the stadium. The stadium was almost filled with 30,000 people cheering for India which was an astonishing thing to watch. Now it’s evident why more footballers comes from that part of the country just by looking at the sheer passion and dedication fans have for this beautiful game. Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh has recently announced on building a large football stadium in Imphal. The team and crowd paid respect to the Late. Mr. Tulsidas Balaram by unveiling a banner in his remembrance.
Sunil Chhetri’s name itched on history books again
Sunil Chhetri became the 5th highest International goalscorer in world football with 85 goals surpassing Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas, after he scored a penalty goal against Kyrgyzstan. It was a happy night for Sunil as his team went past the challenge of Kyrgyzstan. He is one man in the entire nation who has that personality on the field which cannot be replaced by any other now present in the senior national team.
Apart from scoring goals, it is the influence and leadership Chhetri manifests on the field which in most cases affects the character and mentality of the whole team when he is on the field. Now, there is only one question, Who is the successor of Sunil Chhetri?
Set Piece goals and Igor Stimac’s India?
The game’s first goal came from a set piece taken by Brandon Fernandes who laid off a cheeky ball to the far post as Sandesh Jhingan scored at the 34th minute of the game. The compelling fact is India has scored yet another set piece goal which has become a way for Igor Stimac to take the simple and productive way to utilise this Indian squad’s proficiency. Almost 57% of the goals scored by India under Stimac is from set pieces and most of them were crucial decider goals including Adil Khan’s header against Bangladesh, Len Doungel’s goal against Afghanistan among others. Is this good for us or not is a question for all to decide.
Young Naorem Mahesh continues to impress
Naorem Mahesh Singh, 24 year old winger from Manipur has been a real revelation for Indian football this season with his impressive performance in Indian Super League. Now, as he was called up for the National squad, the youngster put up a patent display of simple football with great impact on the field for the team in blue.
He was given 17 and 39 minutes respectively in the last two games respectively and was showing sparks of a next generation winger who can be trusted by the National team for a long time along with experienced campaigners like Lallianzuala Chhangthe who was judged player of the tournament. It is to be seen how he can perform consistently as the National team has a tight schedule ahead of them.
Selection Dilemma for Igor Stimac?
Igor Stimac has been in charge of the Indian National team for almost 4 years now and has used around 61 players for the team. But, it is to be noted that there has been inconsistency in the starting eleven players except for few players like Sunil Chhetri, Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh, Suresh Wangjam and Gurpreet Singh, although even they were benched at times. The Croatian gaffer has been finding it difficult to end up on a consistent starting eleven for the team, thanks to the wonderful talent pool that the national team has on the cards now which was not the case before.
With the national team having a tight schedule coming in the form of the likes of Hero Inter-Continental Cup, SAFF Championship, Asian Games, Kings Cup and the Merdeka Cup as recent news came out, plenty of game time is available for Igor Stimac to finally put up a compelling squad for the bigger competition yet to be played in January in the name of AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar.
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