Wednesday, September 28, 2022

India played best football against Kyrgyzstan: Chhetri

Bengaluru, June 14 (IANS) India skipper Sunil Chhetri says he does not remember in his decade-long career the last time the team played such good football after they rode on his superb second-half strike to beat Kyrgyzstan in a 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group A qualifier here on Tuesday.

“I’m part of the national team for more than 10 years. Trust me, I don’t remember when was the last time we played such a fantastic brand of football,” Chhetri, who got past three defenders to combine with Jeje Lalpekhlua and score the winner in the 69th minute, told on Tuesday night.

“We got a heavy bashing from the gaffer in the dressing room. Clearly, the situation wasn’t an ideal one. That’s why, when we came out for the next 45 minutes, it was a changed side, more focused and more promising,” Chhetri said.

India are top of the group having six points from two matches. Stephen Constantine’s side beat Myanmar 1-0 in their first game where Chhetri was fed by Udanta Singh for the winner.

“Last day it was Udanta, tonight it was Jeje. Had they not made the scintillating run to feed me with the passes, those goals would not have seen the light of the day. It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” the Bengaluru FC talisman who has scored the most number of goals for the country said.

“My goal might be the cherry at the top but the credit goes to all. Right from (goalkeeper) Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the tenacious defenders, midfielders, everyone fought to their limit to churn out this result”, he added.

Coach Constantine lauded his coaching staff for the win. “More than anyone else, India deserved this. Not only the boys who played out there, everyone in the back office, the fans, and the staff played their part to get this result. I believe, the entire nation deserved this,” he said.

On being asked about his team’s eight-game winning run, the Briton quipped, “How about 9?” I’m not a person who looks into the numbers too much. But 13 wins in 15 matches is really remarkable. Be it amateur level or international, producing this sort of result day in and day out is truly applaudable.

“Right from Gurpreet to Sunil, everyone played a terrific brand of football to grab this victory. My boys have proven how closely knit they are. We knew the match would be a taxing one and it actually was. They have shown their mettle to stay top of the table.”

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