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2022 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Two
  • Sunil Chhetri (79', 90'+2')

Sunil Chhetri brace powers India past Bangladesh

Sunil Chhetri celebrates with teammates after scoring vs Bangladesh. AIFF

Sunil Chhetri scored twice late in the second half as India ended an 11-match winless streak to beat Bangladesh 2-0 in the group stages of the World Cup/AFC Cup qualifiers in Doha on Monday.

The win helped India go third in the group, with six points from seven matches so far. They play Afghanistan in their last group game on June 15.

Chhetri broke the deadlock in the 78th minute when he headed in Ashique Kuruniyan's cross from the left. He then sealed the result by curling in a shot from just inside the penalty area in added time.

Stimac made three changes from the side that lost to Qatar in last week, starting Ashique, Udanta Singh and Konsham Singh. India dominated possession in the first half, but found it tough to find gaps in against a narrow Bangladesh defence.

Brandon Fernandes was a standout performer for India, his pin-point passing the key to their best chances. India's first real chance came in the 15th minute, when Brandon's through ball found a gap between two central defenders and found Manvir Singh in the clear inside the box. Manvir tried to go past goalkeeper Anisur Rahaman, but his touch was too heavy, allowing the Bangladesh defence to regroup before he could take a shot.

Chinglensana Singh came close to giving India the lead in the 35th minute when his header off a Brandon corner was cleared off the line by Riyadul Hasan.

India continued to push for an opener in the second half and Brandon found an unmarked Sunil Chhetri in the box from a free-kick after the hour-mark, but the latter's header was off target. Subhashish Bose also came close off a corner a little later, only to see his header sailed past the post.

India finally broke the deadlock in the 79th minute, when Ashique's cross from an acute angle found Chhetri, who lost his marker before heading the ball back across Bangladesh goalkeeper Anisur Rahman.

Stimac made a couple of tactical changes in order to hold on to the lead in added time, as Pronay Halder and Adil Khan replaced Chinglensana Singh and Brandon Fernandes, respectively.

Chhetri sealed the three points late on as he collected a pass from the right by Suresh just inside the Bangladesh area, and curled it into the back of the net.