It was like a fairytale story for the Indian football team which finished with a happy ending in the Intercontinental Cup 2018. Indian football fans thronged the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday and witnessed their home team romping over Kenya 2-0 and lifted the prestigious Cup. Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri was once again the hero of the game as he scored the brace to get his team the 4-nation Intercontinental Cup.
India first played against Chinese Taipei in the Intercontinental Cup. The hosts decimated the opposition with a scoreline 5-0 and Sunil Chhetri scored a hattrick but a near-empty stadium demotivated his efforts. It was after the first game that he went on Twitter, made an emotional appeal to fill the stadium, and support Indian football team.
His plea appealing more people to arrive at the stadium did resonate as fans came in numbers, to the extent that the tickets for next three encounters including finals being sold out 24 hours before the match. With a spirited crowd backing the Blue Tigers the team downed Kenya 3-0 and Chhetri was again the hero. It was also his 100th international game.
Now on Sunday, Chhetri leading his side to the title in front of a jam-packed crowd, who braved the weather to be there for the team, he dedicated his title to them.
“What a feeling! Thank you, India! This win is for the fans who filled the stands, cheered from home and backed and believed in us. The boys and staff pulled together and now it’s time to enjoy. We regroup soon because the road is long – very long,” Chhetri wrote on his social media handles after the game.
What a feeling! Thank you, India! This win is for the fans who filled the stands, cheered from home and backed and believed in us. The boys and staff pulled together and now it’s time to enjoy. We regroup soon because the road is long – very long. #Champions pic.twitter.com/xar3pR9Ki0
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 10, 2018
For Chhetri, this tournament worked wonders for him as he has eight goals from four matches and is now on par with Lionel Messi in terms of goal and second-best active goal scorers in the international circuit only behind Cristiano Ronaldo.