Mumbai: India seized the day with a 4-1 win over a much higher ranked Puerto Rico in a FIFA International friendly in Mumbai on Saturday evening.
India were trailing 0-1 in the seventh minute with Emmanuel Sanchez scoring off a spot-kick award, but it didn’t take the hosts too long to take control of the game. It was a rare match for India as they were playing a higher ranked team and that too on their home ground, first time in 62 years. On paper, Puerto Rico definitely looked as the winning side, but it was India who had an upper hand in the game.
Narayan Das opened India’s scoring campaign in the 18th minute putting the ball inside with assistance from former captain Sunil Chhetri hitting the post. This was followed immediately by another goal coming from the crowd favourite Chhetri, converting a free-kick and taking India up by one point and reversing the pressure on the visitors.
The third goal was brought in by Jeje with again an assist from Sunil putting up a strong lead of 3-1. Puerto Rico tried to break into India’s defence but apart from a couple of passes, they failed to do anything convincing. India extended the lead over Puerto Rico to 4-1 after Jackichand put the last one in sealing a victory.
India are scheduled to play in the third round of the Asian Cup qualifiers in March next year and yesterday’s match marked the first step towards preparation for the continental event.