Late surge not enough as India gets thrashed

India’s desperate attempt in the second half wasn’t enough as it went down 2-5 to North Korea in its second match of the Intercontinental Cup at the EKA Arena here on Saturday.
India captain Sunil Chhetri is upset after the loss to North Korea
India captain Sunil Chhetri is upset after the loss to North Korea

Ahmedabad

While Lallianzuala Chhangte (51’) and Sunil Chhetri (71’) scored one goal each to reduce the margin for the host, North Korea captain Jong Il Gwan (8’ and 28’) and was the star of the show, scoring two goals and providing one assist. Sim Hyon Jin (16’), Ri Un Chol (63’) and Ri Hyon Kin (90+2’) scored one apiece for the winner. India head coach Igor Stimac stated there was ‘courage and confidence on display in the second half.’

“In the final period, we came out with our heads up. We had the courage and confidence when we decided to play football. In the first half, we played without them,” he said in the post-match press conference. “I gave the players the chance to play for India and asked them to enjoy their football. But if you do not show courage and fight, you cannot win,” he added.

Down 0-3 in the first half, a couple of changes by Stimac at half-time brought back the thrust for India.

The introduction of Chhangte and Udanta Singh in place of Manvir Singh and Brandon Fernandes provided the host the much-needed impetus. India pulled one back soon when Chhetri latched on to a stray ball and played Chhangte through. The latter took control and smashed it into the bottom corner. In the 71st minute, Chhetri scored his 71st international goal off a cross from Udanta. India plays Syria in its last group league match on July 16.

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