India started their Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 campaign with a 2-0 win over Mongolia. Sahal Samad and Lallinzuala Chhangte scored the two goals for India early on in the game, and capped off a dominant performance from the Blue Tigers which will surely give them momentum to go further in the tournament.
Samad scored the opener within two minutes of play, slotting the ball into the back of the net calmly after Anirudh Thapa’s low cross was deflected into his path. The Indian forwards pressed their opponents high up the field, and made it very difficult for them to implement their strategy of playing the ball out from the back.
Chhangte scored the second goal around the 15-minute mark from a corner to double the home team’s lead. India looked very comfortable with their consistent attacks, and defended as a unit, not allowing Mongolia to conjure up a solid attack in spite of the drop in pace as half time neared.
India earn comfortable win over Mongolia in Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 opener
Although India were much more conservative in the second half of the game, they kept the majority of possession and did not let their opponents conjure up any attacks. Their finishing left a lot to be desired, considering the number of chances that their forwards and midfielders were presented with.
The 5000-strong crowd at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha certainly proved to be a big factor in the match. Their vocal support for the Blue Tigers helped them earn the mental advantage and dominate the entire game from start to finish.
Mongolia, on the other hand, looked well behind the level of football being played and will have to get their performance up to the mark if they are to make it deep into the tournament.
Chhangte was eventually named the man of the match for his impressive outing for the Blue Tigers. Samad also played an important part in the win, dictating the play from the centre of the field.
When is India’s next match?
India will take on Vanuatu in their next match in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 on June 12.