The Indian men’s senior football team (Blue Tigers) showcased their prowess on the field as they secured a remarkable 2-0 win against Lebanon in the final, sealing the 2023 Hero Intercontinental Cup title at the prestigious Kalinga Stadium on June 18, 2023, Sunday.
This tournament marked a historic moment for the Blue Tigers, as it was their first-ever appearance in the Odisha capital. India’s impeccable defense remained unbreached throughout the competition, ultimately reclaiming the title they had last won in 2018.
Impressed by the team’s stellar performance, the honorable Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, announced a cash prize of Rs. one crore in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the tournament.
During the second half of the match, Sunil Chhetri swiftly found the net just after the restart, capitalizing on an incisive Indian attack from the right. Hero of the match, Lallianzuala Chhangte, further solidified India’s lead 20 minutes later with a simple tap-in.
Lebanon posed intermittent threats on the counter-attack but found it difficult to overcome the rock-solid presence of Sandesh Jhingan, who was named the Hero of the Tournament. India’s attacking momentum continued in the second half, with Chhetri’s goal in the tense final serving as a testament to the team’s exceptional teamwork.
The Blue Tigers’ relentless pursuit of a second goal paid off in the 65th minute when Chhangte capitalized on a spilled shot by Sabeh, swiftly thumping the rebound into the net, securing a 2-0 advantage. From that point on, India tactfully managed the game, maintaining a vigilant defense to safeguard their two-goal lead. Lebanon‘s closest opportunity to score came in the 80th minute when Maatouk missed a chance from close range.
Cash awards of Hero Intercontinental Cup
Winners: 50,000 USD (India)
Runners-up: 25,000 USD (Lebanon)
Hero of the Tournament: Rs. 1, 50,000/- (Sandesh Jhingan, India).