Chhetri’s Goal Secures First Victory for India At Asian Games
India bounced back to their winning form following a tough loss against China. They secured a 1-0 victory over Bangladesh during their second Group A match at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The hero of the day was Sunil Chhetri, who made the difference by converting a crucial penalty in the 85th minute, securing all three points for India. This victory rekindled India’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage after a disappointing 1-5 loss to China in their opening match.
Head coach Igor Stimac made strategic changes to the starting lineup. Dheeraj Moirangthem replaced goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh, Chinglansana Singh stepped in for Sumit Rathi, and Rohit Danu took the place of Rahim Ali.
The first half of the game lacked excitement, with both teams struggling to create opportunities. Bangladesh effectively disrupted India’s game plan, leaving Captain Chhetri and Coach Stimac dissatisfied. Towards the end of the first half, India had three close scoring opportunities through Chhetri, Lanchungnunga, and Rahul KP, but Bangladesh’s goalkeeper, Mitul Marma, made consecutive saves, denying India.
In the second half, India showed renewed vigor and energy on the field but couldn’t break the deadlock. Coach Stimac introduced Gurkirat Singh and Samul Kynshi as substitutes, with the latter coming close to scoring from a free-kick that hit the post.
The turning point of the match occurred late in the game when Bryce Miranda was fouled inside the box by Bangladesh’s captain, Rahmat Mia. Miranda attempted to flick the ball over the defender and was brought down after Rahmat missed his kick entirely. Chhetri capitalized on the penalty opportunity, confidently placing the ball to the right and securing the victory.
After the match, Chhetri expressed his frustration with the team’s performance, emphasizing the importance of collecting all three points. Regarding preparations for future matches, he downplayed their significance, emphasizing the team’s commitment to giving their all in the next game.