India thrash higher-ranked Puerto Rico 4-1 in friendly

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The Indian football team registered an emphatic 4-1 victory against Puerto Rico who are 38 places above them in the rankings in an International friendly in the Mumbai Football Arena. Sunil Chhetri scored an excellent brace while Jackichand Singh and Narayan Das scored one goal each.

INDIA XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu(GK); Narayan Das, Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal; Jackichand Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Pronay Haldar, Bikash Jairu; Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua

Puerto Rico XI: Johny Santana (GK); Martinez, D'Andrea, Elliot Velez, E. Sanchez; Conde, Coca, J. Velez, Cabrero, Rivera; Ramos

The match began on an even foot as both teams looked for early openings, but it was Puerto Rico who struck first. In the 7th minute, Puerto Rico's Elliot Velez was brought down by Jackichand Singh inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Emanuel Sanchez made no mistake in burying the ball past Indian goalie Gurpreet Singh giving the visitors an early lead.

India received a corner the very next minute but failed to capitalize on it. However, Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua kept testing the opponents, and the breakthrough finally arrived in the 17th minute. Bikash Jairu was brought down by Puerto Rican defender Conde, and Sunil Chhetri stepped up to take the free-kick. But, the Indian skipper's kick rebounded off the post. Luckily though for India, Narayan Das was at hand to put it back into the goal. It was 1-1.

Chhetri, however, did not have to wait long to get onto  the score sheet as India received another free-kick in the 24th minute. Chhetri's free-kick this time hit the far post, but managed to roll inside. India were up 2-1 in front of the home crowd.

India kept pressing and made it 3-1 well before half-time with a brilliant team effort. The move started with Pritam Kotal sending a cross to skipper Chhetri, who instead of taking an attempt put it across to Jeje with a header. Jeje, who found himself free at the goalmouth, sent in an easy header to make it 3-1.

India went into the half-time with a 3-1 lead.

In the 58th minute, India made it 4-1. Jeje's cross into the box found Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who tried to head it into goal. But Lyngdoh's attempt misfired only to find Jackichand Singh who smashed it in.

By then, the Mumbai crowd was boisterous as the audience who had expected a regular show from India were treated to an unexpected win over a higher-ranked opponent.

The visitors had a chance in the 70th minute, but the ball struck the timber to be denied. The rest of the match passed without many incidents as India wrapped up a memorable win over their opponents, who are 38 places above them in the ranking.

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