Nehru Cup 2009: India 3-1 Sri Lanka

August 26th, 2009 Section: Internationals, Nehru Cup Football

650_26-aug-evening-match-srilanka-vs-india-2.jpg India led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a Bhaichung Bhutia goal and although Sri Lanka restored parity just after the hour mark, Gauramangi Singh and Steven Dias scored further into the second period to secure a 3-1 victory for India.

India made one change to the squad as Surkumar Singh came in place of Deepak Mandal while Sri Lanka’s S. Dimudu coming back after a sending off in the first match.

India made a bright start to the game as they looked to pressurize the Sri Lankans early on. Their plan worked as the Islanders succumbed to the pressure.

It all began in the second minute of the match when Climax Lawrence’s chip saw Anthony Pereira through on goal but Lankan defender Dinesh cleared the ball out of danger

India continued their forage into the Sri Lankan half as the Indian midfielders found their touch after missing it in the earlier games. A Steven Dias free-kick in the 6th minute was punched away by the Sri Lankan custodian.

India thought that they had taken the lead in the 13th minute when a Steven Dias free-kick was headed home by Sunil Chhetri. But it was flagged offside, much to the chagrin of the fans gathered at the Ambedkar Stadium.

Full back Surkumar Singh then released Steven Dias with the latter’s shot from inside the Lankan penalty area hitting the crossbar.

It was once again the combination of Surkumar and Steven Dias on the right that played a crucial part in breaking the deadlock. Surkumar found Steven, whose cross saw Bhaichung Bhutia head into the net in the 25th minute. This was the Indian skipper’s second goal of the tournament.
bhaichung celebrates
The Sri Lankans could never again find their rhythm for the rest of the first-half as India demonstrated their superior class with no mercy.

Bhutia soon had a great chance to double India’s lead when from an Indian clearance he got away from the marker. However, in his attempt to chip the ball over the head of the Lankan ‘keeper Kumara,, he chipped the ball over the crossbar.

Towards the final stages of the first-match full-back Surkumar Singh received a needless yellow card when he made a challenge on Mohideen. Sri Lankan, though, couldn’t do anything from the resulting free-kick.

Both teams started the second half on a bright note with Sri Lanka trying to equalize and India trying to double their lead. The Bhangra Boys could have done so had Bhaichung Bhutia’s header off a Surkumar Singh’s cross not struck the frame of the Sri Lankan goal.

India continued to march forward and NP Pradeep played a crucial role everytime India did so. However, things didn’t go as expected as the Sri Lankans found a way back through and got back into the game.

In the 62nd minute W. Ruwanthilake outjumped Anwar and headed home a Mohideen corner as the Indian defence looked shaky for once.

But India didn’t buckle down and made their intentions clear immediately after conceding the goal. Bhutia won a free-kick and it was taken by Stevn Dias. But Lankan ‘keeper brilliantly blocked it.

Soon after Surkumar Singh ran from inside his own half into the opposition’s 18-yard box, taking on several Sri Lankan bodies. However, he was blocked at the crucial point by Warakagoda.
india football fans
But before long India surged ahead for the second time in the match. Mahesh Gawli earned a free-kick on the left and Dias took it brilliantly. NP Pradeep struck it but Kumara blocked his shot.

Fortunately for India, the ball fell to a lurking Gauramangi Singh who tapped in India’s second goal.

The Men in Blue did not stop thereafter and continued to threaten the Lankan backline as Pradeep’s right-footer hit the post.

Star of the day Steven Dias added his name on the scoresheet when released by Pradeep on the right, he took a shot that found the Lankan net.

That Steven Dias goal sealed a 3-1 victory for hosts India. This win should silent their critics who had been questioning their performances especially after their opening day loss.