The Indian football team’s campaign at the Intercontinental Cup clash came to a disappointing end as they slumped to a shocking 1-2 defeat to New Zealand at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday.
It had seemed destined for another sweet evening for the Indian football fans as a lucky goal from skipper Sunil Chhetri had put India into the lead in the 48th minute. But the Kiwis first restored parity through Andre Jong.
The first-half saw New Zealand dominating all throughout and coming close but the Indians soaked in all the pressure, didn’t open up and managed to hold on. The trend continued even in the second and though the Indians fought back, New Zealand stayed the better team.
The first card of the game came out in the 8th minute when Jai Ingham was booked for an off-the ball infringement on Ashique Kuruniyan.
It was evident the Kiwis had come with a strategy of ruffling the Indian defence with quick crosses and their first shy at the Indian goal came in the 12th minute but Andre Jong’s header sailed over.
The cheers went a bit louder in the 22nd minute when rival goalkeeper Michael Woud fumbled a routine gathering allowing captain Sunil Chhetri to get it on the rebound. But an alert Woud managed to narrow it down and avert any danger.
The Kiwis who were constantly pressing were eventually rewarded in the 86th minute, when substitute Moses John Dyer scored the winning goal.