AFC Asian Cup 2019: Sunil Chhetri's second goal against Thailand was 'masterclass', says former India player Shyam Thapa

Abu Dhabi: Former India player Shyam Thapa on Tuesday described the second goal scored by Sunil Chhetri during the 4-1 thrashing of Thailand in the Asian Cup as a "masterclass" even as he praised the whole team for the impressive show in that match.

India's Sunil Chhetri celebrates after scoring a goal against Thailand. AFP

India's Sunil Chhetri celebrates after scoring a goal against Thailand. AFP

Chhetri scored a brace in that match with India pumping in three goals in the second half which left Thailand, who were dominating the first session, shell-shocked.

"All the goals were brilliant. The composure showed by Sunil before the penalty was terrific. The second goal was a terrific example of the team game. Udanta's pass was perfectly finished by Chhetri. Truly masterclass," Thapa said.

Anirudh Thapa and second half substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the other goals for India. It was India's first win in the Asian Cup after 1964. It was also India's biggest victory in the Asian Cup, surpassing the 3-1 win against Hong Kong in 1964.

Talking about Anirudh, he said, "The bachcha (Anirudh) showed the right attitude and chipped it in. The future is bright and he is on the right path.

"The toe-poke by Jeje was something extraordinary too. What I found so positive was that not a single goal came by fluke. The game plan was executed well," said Thapa who is the current head of the technical committee of the All India Football Federation.

India face hosts UAE in their next fixture on 10 January and the former striker feels "midfielders will have a tough task ahead".

"The midfielders have a tough task ahead against UAE. They need to be on their toes throughout. The team which will control the midfield will win the match. They need to go deep to lay a hand in defence as well as coordinate with the forwards up front."

Thapa, who had played for both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, also praised head coach Stephen Constantine for introducing a lot of youngsters in the team.

"The coach has done a great work bringing so many young players in the national team. They are capable of running at the same speed and playing with same intensity for 90 minutes. It will help us going forward," he said.

"Moreover, the team has experienced players like Chhetri and Sandesh who can guide these boys on the pitch.

"I recalled my playing days seeing these young chaps Ashique Kuruniyan and Anirudh Thapa play. Ashique has terrific energy and speed while Thapa's finishing was too good," said Thapa who was known for his back-volleys during his playing days.

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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2019 20:35:34 IST

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