India finally managed to win their first home game under the head coach Igor Stimac as they have started their journey in the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualification with a 2-0 win against the 171st-ranked FIFA team Cambodia. Captain Sunil Chhetri scored both those goals to bring up three crucial points in the country’s account.
It was the Group D game of the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualification, where both the Asian teams met at Salt Lake Stadium (Kolkata). The game started with a seven-minute delay after the organisers failed to play the national anthem of Cambodia. Cambodian organisers finally came to the help as one of their smartphones was reportedly used to play their national anthem.
Sunil Chhetri’s brace helped the hosts team to win the game. While he scored from a penalty in the first half (13’), his header added another goal for the team in the second half (59’).
Earlier on the same day, Hong Kong beat Afghanistan in the Group D opening game by 2-1 at the same venue Salt Lake Stadium (Kolkata). India will face Afghanistan on 11th June and Hong Kong on 14th June.
India vs Cambodia: Playing XIs + Substitutions
India XI – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Roshan Singh Naorem (Pritam Kotal 73’), Sandesh Jhinagn, Anwar Ali, Akash Mishra, Anirudh Thapa (Sahal Abdul Samad 45’), Brandon Fernandes (Glan Martins 68’), Suresh Singh Wangjam, Manvir Singh (Udanta Singh 45’), Sunil Chhetri (C) (Aashique Kuruniyan 68’), Liston Colaco
Cambodia XI – Hul Kimhuy (GK), Ken Chansopheak, Soeuy Visal (C), Chou Chanchav, Kok Boris, Bin Chanthacheary, Orn Cahanpolin (Sin Sovannmakara 73’), Sos Suhana (Chou Shinti 63’), In Sodavid (Ean Pisey 80’), Seigh Chanthea (Ty Sa 63’), Keo Sokpheng (Mat Noron 63’)
India vs Cambodia: Major moments
4 minutes: Sandesh Jhingan was booked early as he received a yellow card for a late challenge against Orn Cahanpolin.
12 minutes: India won a penalty. Liston Colaco was fouled inside the penalty box.
13 minutes: Goal (India 1 Cambodia 0) Sunil Chhetri scored from a penalty. His powerful shot beat the goalie and perfectly placed the ball in the left middle corner. It was the 81st goal for Chhetri.
31 minutes: Chhetri saw a yellow card for a foul on Chou Chanchav.
32 minutes: Chhetri had a great chance to shoot from inside the box but miscued that ball.
45 minutes: Men in Blues conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position after Roshan Singh fouled Sokpheng just ahead of the box.
45+1 minutes: A good free-kick from Keo Sokpheng as the ball went top of the goal, but Sandhu comfortably grabbed that ball.
In the early minutes, Cambodia were showing urgency. But they failed to continue it for a long time.
50 minutes: Brandon Fernandes provided a brilliant cross to Chhetri, whose header went over the post.
55 minutes: Anwar beautifully defended in a challenging situation inside the box
59 minutes: Goal (India 2 Cambodia 0) Chhetri’s header made the scoreline 2-0. Brandon’s cross found unmarked Chhetri, who comfortably netted that ball. It was the 82nd goal for Chhetri.
61 minutes: Brandon’s long-range shot just went over the post.
87 minutes: Aashique Kuruniyan threatened the opposition box with his brilliant effort. The goalkeeper’s hands denied any danger on that occasion.
India vs Cambodia: Key points
Cambodia’s lack of confidence made the hosts comfortable
Except for a few close to challenging-looking moments, India were always comfortable on the field. Cambodian footballers were too defensive, and mostly they were far away from any aggressive approach. Their playing attitude allowed the hosts to go on their relaxed strategy.
Hosts had a perfect day; now they need to focus on the next games
India were hardly challenged in this game. Observing the situation, the home team felt to hold the position more rather than going for too much aggressive approach. The hosts were confident enough about their chances, and they mostly proved it correct.
India now need to focus on the next matches. Their passing need to improve, especially the hosts disappointed with their passing in the first half.