NEW DELHI: Striker Sunil Chhetri and midfielder Clifford Miranda’s did a brace each to give India a 5-0 victory against Bhutan 5-0 in a must-win Group A match of the SAFF Cup football tournament here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday, December 5, 2011. Bhutan is the lowest ranked team in the tournament. The 198th ranked Bhutan had lost 0-3 in their opening game against Sri Lanka.
With this victory India has now moved to the top of Group A standings with four points from two matches. India need just a draw against Sri Lanka in their last match on December 7 to reach the semifinal stage.
Earlier playing with Nirmal Chettri and Anthony Pereira in place of Sameer Naik and Steven Dias, India dominated the first half. Syed Rahim Nabi put India in the lead in the 29th minute. Nabi gave India the lead when he headed a Clifford Miranda corner from the right. India doubled their lead just before the half-time in the 44th minute when Clifford hit another.
Changing over Clifford Miranda score his second goal in the 58th minute by a pinpoint pass from Chettri to make it 3-0 for India. The Dempo mid-fielder also assisted Nabi and Sunil Chettri (69th, 84th) in adding up to the tally.
Sunil Chhetri came in form after that and scored in the 69th and 84th minute.
The goal difference could have been wider for if the three goals of Nabi weren’t disallowed for off-side in the first half. Chettri also came close to score his first goal within the first two minutes but couldn’t connect timely to Miranda’s cross.
India: Karanjit Singh(GK); Syed Rahim Nabi, Mahesh Gawli, Gouramangi Singh, Nirmal Chettri; Clifford Miranda, Climax Lawrence (C) (Jewel Raja – 65th), Rocus Lamare, Anthony Pereira; Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua (Joaquim Abranches – 62nd).
Bhutan: Mon Bdr Bhattrai; Sanjay Khandu, Nawang Dendup, Sonam Tenzin (Karma Tshering, 71), Nim Sangay (Yeshi Samdrup, 61); Pema Rinchen, Thinley Dorji, Man Bahadur Gurung, Tshering Droji; Checho Gyeltshen, Jigme Tshering Dorjee
Referee: Sukhbir Singh (Malaysia)
In one another match on Monday, Afghanistan beat Sri Lanka 3-1. A Man-of-the-match performance by Sanjar Ahmadi who scored in the 24th and the 35th minute gave Afghanistan an unassailable lead. Yamir Ali completed the rout when he headed in Haroon Fakhrudin corner in the 78th minute. The victory took Afghanistan to four points from two matches. Sri Lanka stay on three points from two matches.