India captain Sunil Chhetri scored his 92nd international goal to put the hosts ahead of the visitors at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, extending his scoring run for the Blue Tigers in their crucial Group A match of the World Cup Championship. South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) on Tuesday. . Chhetri, who is India’s all-time top scorer in men’s football, also accomplished a monumental feat by scoring his fifth goal in the elite tournament.
Chhetri opened the scoring for India moments before the end of the first half. The India captain scored the first goal of the tournament through a set piece from his teammate Anirudh Thapa. Capitalizing on a Thapa corner kick in the 46th minute (45+2) of the game, the veteran striker hit a sideline volley to put India ahead of the visitors at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
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Chhetri’s first goal was also his 24th goal in the SAFF Championship, making him the all-time top scorer of the celebrated tournament. Chhetri has surpassed Ali Ashfaq to become the all-time goalscorer in SAFF Championship history. The Indian captain approaches Lionel Messi (103) and Cristiano Ronaldo (123) on the list of all-time international goalscorers in men’s football. Chhetri is only behind Ronaldo, Messi and Ali Daei (109) in the elite list. The star striker has scored seven goals in his last seven appearances for the India team. The 38-year-old managed to find the back of the net in India’s comfortable victory over Nepal.
Earlier, Chhetri had kicked off India’s SAFF Championship campaign with a memorable treble against arch-rivals Pakistan. Kuwait, ranked 143rd in the FIFA rankings, only needed a draw against India to top Group A at the SAFF Championship. The visitors picked up six points from their last two matches to secure their place in the semifinals of the tournament. Kuwait defeated Nepal 3-1 before defeating Pakistan 4-0 in the group stage of the SAFF Championship.