India football captain Sunil Chhetri marked his 100th appearance for the Blue Tigers by being the strikeforce behind the team's 3-0 victory over Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup on Monday.
This victory was memorable for more than one reason as this match was played in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
On Saturday, Chhetri took to social media to send out a heartfelt request to the people of India to support their national football team. He urged people to come and fill the stadiums and relish the experience of watching their team in action. The 33-year-old believed that irrespective of the result of the matches, the team would put up a worthy showing for the fans every single time.
The plea sent social media into a tizzy and the power of this particular medium was seen in its full glory as not just India but the world football community endorsed the views of the Indian skipper.
Chhetri's clarion call was heard loud enough as the Mumbai Football Arena, the venue of the Intercontinental Cup, was filled with fans and the online ticketing agency BookMyShow said that tickets to the match were sold out hours before the start.
With Chhetri and Co keeping up their word of giving it their all by overcoming heavy downpour in the first half of the match to win the match, courtesy of goals from the captain and Jeje Lalpekhlua, the Twitter world went berserk in its appreciation of the Blue Tigers, who clearly became the toast of the nation on a Monday evening.
After the match, the man-of-the-moment Sunil Chhetri responded to the unbridled love and unprecedented response to his video
We promise you that if that’s the kind of support we get every time we play for the country, we will give our lives on the pitch. India, this night was special because we were in this together. Those in the stands shouting, and the ones at home cheering - thank you!
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 4, 2018
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the Indian team goalkeeper also took to Twitter to thank the Mumbai crowd for pulling all stops to make it to the game.
Thank you so much Mumbai for making tonight so special for us and for our man @chetrisunil11 , you guys made the difference with your support the boys stuck in and provided the result against a tough team! #Chettri100 — Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (@GurpreetGK) June 4, 2018
Players from other sports also extended their wishes to Chhetri and Co. Indian hockey captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh wished Chhetri on his 100 appearances
The best way to remember your milestone brother @chetrisunil11 ... A sweet win over Kenya 🇰🇪 and register 2 goals in your name .. congratulation for the achievement -100 match’s @IndianFootball #india 🇮🇳vs Kenya 🇰🇪
— sreejesh p r (@16Sreejesh) June 4, 2018
Indian cricketer Suresh Raina too joined in the legion of Twitterati to shower praises on Chhetri and the team
Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh too chipped in with his wishes
— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) June 4, 2018
Virender Sehwag showered his praises on the team and captain Sunil Chhetri
What a fantastic victory. Congratulations @chetrisunil11 on your 100th international match and for making it extra special with the two goals and a fantastic victory in front of a packed stadium. Great news for @IndianFootball #INDvKEN pic.twitter.com/f5isKrYxdi — Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 4, 2018
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the sports minister, was one of the first people to congratulate the well-deserved victory
A superb and well deserved win by our @IndianFootball team. Congratulations to the team for the 3-0 win against Kenya today!@chetrisunil11 lead from the front and scored 2 goals in his 100th match! #INDvKEN — Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) June 4, 2018
Praful Patel, president of the All India Football Federation, also wished the boys of Indian football
Aaditya Thackeray, the young Shiv Sena scion praised the Mumbai fans for their support.
Thank you Football fans for being there today! Mumbai Football Arena was simply magic today! “India India” and the chants!! Truly special for us hosting @chetrisunil11 ‘s 100th and entire country watching the stands full to cheer him. Now for each game @IndianFootball plays here pic.twitter.com/vlee7WsnvW — Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) June 4, 2018
Hindi actor Arjun Kapoor took to Twitter to share his excitement about the match
Way to go boys!! That was a spectacular match team India! @chetrisunil11, scoring twice in your 100th match is no simple feat...what a performance! @IndianFootball #INDvKEN — Arjun Kapoor (@arjunk26) June 4, 2018
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 00:19 AM