Sunil Chhetri starred for India in their AFC Asian Cup 2019 Group A opener at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as his double helped the team hammer Thailand 4-1.
Chhetri’s goals in either half also helped him go past Argentina great Lionel Messi and become the second highest active international goal scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. The India striker now has 67 goals while Messi has 65.
The Blue Tigers also registered their biggest win in the tournament and also their first in the Asian Cup since 1964.
Sunil Chhetri broke the deadlock with a penalty in the 27th minute before Teerasil Dangda gave Thailand hope with an equaliser. The joy did not last long as Chhetri struck again soon after the break with an excellent first-time strike to restore India’s lead.
In Football, India made a thrilling start in the opening encounter at the AFC Asian Cup campaign defeating Thailand 4-1 at Abu Dhabi last evening. Captain Sunil Chettri scored twice, while Anirudh Thapa and Jeje were other scorers for India. At halftime, India and Thailand were at the level score of one goal each. This is India’s fourth Asian Cup appearance, having last appeared in the 2011 edition of the tournament.