The experienced duo of Sunil Chhetri and Clifford Miranda were on target as India beat Nepal 2-0 in a comfortable win
By Anselm Noronha with Sanjeewan Mani at the stadium
India won 2-0 against Nepal in an international friendly held atthe Kanchanjangha Stadium in Siliguri on Tuesday evening. SunilChhetri's first half strike put the hosts ahead in the 21st minutebefore Clifford Miranda doubled their lead three minutes after thebreak.
East Bengal's Lalrindika Ralte and Dempo SC's Narayan Das werehanded a start by coach Wim Koevermans with the latter making hisinternational debut while Lenny Rodrigues and Gurjinder Kumar werebenched in favour of the duo. Those were the only changes made tothe line-up that faced Philippines last week.
Nepal coach Jack Stefanowski made two changes to his team that lastfaced India at the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF)Championship with Jumanu Rai and Bikram Lama coming in for RohitChand and Bharat Khawas.
The match started with Sunil Chhetri failing to latch on to a passby Robin Singh in the sixth minute but the skipper pounced onanother opportunity later on in the half, becoming India's all-timetop scorer, surpassing former captain Bhaichung Bhutia's record of42 international goals.
The Bengaluru FC striker scored his 43rd international goal afteran attempt by Robin Singh bounced back off Nepali goalkeeper KiranChemjong and Chhetri was on hand to tuck in the rebound in the 21stminute.
Jumanu Rai tried to hit back on the counter but his attempt wasthwarted by the Indian defense as Aibor Khonjee had another goodday at the office after making his international debut againstPhilippines on Friday.
Chhetri looked for his second of the evening from a header offClifford Miranda's cross in the 27th minute, but his attempt landedon the roof of the net.
As the Blue Tigers continued to build on their momentum, Robin sawanother shot blocked by Chemjong after combining well with MehtabHossain and Miranda.
Keeping up to the aggression shown by the Indian midfield in thefirst half, the home team doubled their lead in the 48th minutewhen a pass by Robin which was initially intended for Ralte fell atthe feet of Miranda who blasted home.
The Gorkhalis were left under constant attack by Koevermans' sideas Chhetri had an opportunity which was averted by a Nepalidefender after Robin's shot that rebounded off the bar.
The visitors failed to create any clear-cut chances in attack anddespite forcing their way into India's half towards the end of thegame, the hosts were able to keep a clean sheet and secure thewin.
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