‘I think it is relaxing to us’: Jeakson Singh hails Sunil Chhetri's presence in front of goal
Sunil Chhetri tapped in from close range against Nepal at the SAFF Championship 2023 to take his international tally to 91 goals.
It started a bit nervy but everything then fell as per plans for India in their second group encounter against Nepal, whom they defeated 2-0 at the SAFF Championship 2023 to qualify for the semifinals at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. The tourists were graced with loud cheers from the Nepalese crowd assembled at the venue and the team stood up to their expectations against a sturdy India, who were heading into the clash on the back of a resounding win over arch-rivals Pakistan.
Nepal did create two good chances in the opening half but things remained as it is in the first 45 minutes. India then broke the deadlock right after the hour mark as Sunil Chhetri tapped in from close range to take his international tally to 91 goals. Naorem Mahesh Singh, who scored the India's second goal, combined with Sahal Abdul Samad on the right before squaring the ball into the heart of the D and Chhetri did the rest with no hint of trouble.
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Soon after the strike, India introduced two substitutes bringing in defensive midfielder Jeakson Singh and winger Lallianzuala Chhangte into the play. Following their introduction India restored the normalcy, which was expected of them, as Nepal struggled for most part of the remaining time in the second half.
Speaking to reporters following the encounter, Jeakson hailed Chhetri's brilliance in front of the goal. “It's helping our national team, every time he scores I think it is relaxing to us. And I hope he continues like that, he's almost about to score 100 goals,” he said.
Although India have already secured a semifinal berth, the Blue Tigers will now meet Kuwait in their final group encounter, the winner of which will finish top of Group A. Kuwait have so far scored seven goals in two matches (3-1 vs Nepal, 4-0 vs Pakistan) and pose a good challenge for the Indian unit, who had to work hard to deal with Nepal's intense pressing.
While Jeakson admits the challenge to be tough against Kuwait compared to India's previous two opponents, but he assured that the team is confident to find a positive result.
“They are a much better team that we faced in the last two matches, and it's not just about me I think everybody has to give their best. If we stick to our plan and we are disciplined we're going to stop them. We can win,” he said.