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AFC Asian Cup: Chhetri proud of his boys, says India a difficult team to play against

first_img Akshay Ramesh Abu DhabiJanuary 6, 2019UPDATED: January 7, 2019 04:20 IST Sunil Chhetri now has 67 goals in international football (Photo Credit: AFC Media)HIGHLIGHTSChhetri said India will fight and fight hard in the ongoing AFC Asian Cup tournamentChhetri broke Inder Singh’s 55-year-old record for the most number of goals by an Indian at AFC Asian CupIndia thrashed Thailand 4-1 to begin their campaign in Group A on a highBrimming with joy after leading India to their biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup win on Sunday, talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri said the Blue Tigers may not be the most technically sound team but their ability to fight till the final whistle makes them a difficult side to play against.Sunil Chhetri scored a double as India thrashed lower-ranked Thailand 4-1 in a Group A match in Abu Dhabi to start their Asian Cup campaign on a high. Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua also put their names on the scoresheet as India came up with a clinical performance.Ranked 97 on the FIFA charts, India were expected to make a positive start against Southeast Asian powerhouses, Thailand. However, it is safe to say the win with a three-goal margin was unexpected.”It feels good. To be very honest, all the other three teams [in Group A] are more experienced and better than us. I have no shame in saying that. The way the boys fought… they showed character,” Chhetri said after the match.”As I said before, we might not be the most technical team but we are a difficult team to play against, we fight and fight till the end. That’s what the boys showed out there. Everyone of them ran for their lives and defended and that’s what we play the game for.”Considering the bigger picture, this is a good but small start. But I’ll talk about just this game – it was bloody brilliant to be a part of the way my team went about things. And it’s even more special knowing we made a country happy, even if it is only for a day.advertisementSunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) 6 January 2019What a thumping win by @IndianFootball over @Changsuek_TH (Thailand)!India are now at the top of Group A!3pts1pt1pt0pt#BackTheBlue #THAIND #AsianDream #BlueTigers: AFC Media pic.twitter.com/7BqEVwFvkXHero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) January 6, 2019Chhetri helped open the scoring as he converted a penalty in the 27th minute of the match to send the section of Indian fans at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi into a tizzy.Thailand captain Teerasil Dangda led the team’s reply as the War Elephants found the equaliser six minutes after conceding the goal. Both the teams headed to the break tied at 1-1.Biggest ever Asian Cup win for the Indians!What an achievement to KO the Blue Tigers’ #AsianCup2019 campaign! pic.twitter.com/fsXo4QB586#AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) January 6, 2019However, it was one-way traffic in the second-half. Chhetri opened the scoring as early as the first minute after the break with a stunning finish after nimble-footed Udanta Singh ran down the right flank and sent in a cross. Anirudh Thapa and substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua scored in the 68th and the 80th minute respectively to put the game to bed.Speaking about the shift in style after the break, Chhetri said India wanted to just make sure they didn’t give space to Thailand who worked the Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh quite a lot in the first 45 minutes.”Told ourselves ‘Make sure you defend in numbers, make sure you don’t give them space.’ They are so good with the ball, we saw in the first half… if we allow them, they will keep passing. So the team spoke about getting close and cutting down on the space,” Chhetri added.Chhetri became the highest scorer for India in the AFC Asian Cup history as the Bengaluru FC captain surpassed Inder Singh, who struck twice in the 1964 edition when the country had finished runners up.He also went past Lionel Messi to become the second highest active international goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. The India striker now has 67 goals while Messi has 65.However, the goal-scoring machine insisted he is not thinking about records but only about the team’s progress in the ongoing continental tournament.”It’s time now to focus on the stuff. It doesn’t matter who scores. I am happy we got the three points. You can see the happiness and jubilation in our faces when someone scores. That tells you how tightly knit we are as a team. I just hope we get much more from the tournament. I am so happy and proud of the boys.”Thanking the Blue Pilgrims, who had turned out in considerable numbers to support the team, Chhetri said: “Brilliant. We expect so much from them because they have made us get used to great support wherever we go. I just want to thank them. I just hope we can give them more to cheer in the coming matches. Keep supporting us, we will give our best in the pitch.”advertisementFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byJepher Nickels Tags :Follow Sunil ChhetriFollow AFC Asian Cup 2019 AFC Asian Cup: Chhetri proud of his boys, says India a difficult team to play againstSunil Chhetri scored a brace as India thrashed lower-ranked Thailand 4-1 in a Group A match in Abu Dhabi to start their Asian Cup campaign on a high.advertisementlast_img read more

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Only international airline operating to Mattala suspends flights

Fly Dubai said that passengers who wish to receive a refund are advised to contact their Travel Agent or the Contact Centre in Dubai on (00971) 600 54 44 45.  Fly Dubai apologised for the inconvenience caused to its passengers’ travel plans.The Mattala international airport had been operating at a huge loss since it was launched by the former Government. A spokesperson for the airline told the Colombo Gazette that Flydubai flights to Mattala will not operate after 0‎8 June due to commercial reasons. The only international airline operating to Mattala has suspended its flights to the airport.UAE-based Fly Dubai has suspended its operations to the Mattala international airport owing to commercial reasons. “Passengers who have purchased tickets between Dubai and Mattala are being rebooked on our flights to Colombo,” Fly Dubai said. The current Government has been in talks with an Indian company to reach a deal to operate the airport and make it profitable. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Easwaran Rutnam read more

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