- India beat Thailand 1-0 in the King's Cup
- Anirudh Thapa scored in the 17th minute
- Indian team finished the campaign in the third position
India made a stunning comeback in the King’s Cup after Anirudh Thapa’s 17th-minute winner against Thailand took them up to the third spot on Saturday. The Blue tigers had lost out 3-1 to Curacao in the campaign opener. It also marked India’s first victory under the Igor Stimac era apart from being the side’s only win in the tournament.
To hand chances to all players in the 23-man squad, Stimac made as many as 8 changes to the team that started against Curacao. Only Sandesh Jhingan, Debashish Bose and Rahul Bheke managed to retain their places. Midfielder Michael Soosairaj couldn’t make it to the starting XI yet again.
Class act 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 8, 2019
India started the game with a bright spell of possession with Balwant Singh and Farukh Choudhary leading the attack department, with Thapa supporting the duo from the back. On the other hand, Thailand went about attacking through the wings.
Unlike the match frustrating game against Curacao, India found the back of the net early on on Saturday at the Chang Arena. In the 17th minute, the Thai side cleared Raynier Fernandes’ poor free-kick inside the box. And in the melee that followed, defender Adil Khan chipped in a cross across the face of the goal. A sprinting Thapa slotted home well in time, with the Thailand back-four looking on helplessly.
However, the Thai players replied within just 5 minutes, with Teerasil Dangda finding the net with an overhead volley courtesy of a lobbed ball cross from Theerathon Bunmathan. However, to the relief of the men in blue, the goal was was overruled for an offside.
Nonetheless, a furious Thailand kept on attacking with sustained pressure. Then in the 34th minute, defender Adil produced a brilliant block to stop Sumanya Purisay’s long-distance attempt.
Some time before the half time, India had the glorious chance of doubling the lead. It was Farukh this time who found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. However, the forward, waiting for Balwant to enter the picture, mistimed the pass, allowing Thai defender Adisorn to clear the danger.
Early in the second half, Farukh again found himself in a goal scoring position, as he ran through the middle and unleashed a long-distance shot. However, the attempt hit the woodwork. Although Balwant pounced on the loose ball, he failed to find back of the net.
Jhingan and Co saw off the rest of the game with little hardships.
India will now be seen in action when they play in the Intercontinental Cup from July 7 at Ahmedabad. The competition also features Tajikistan, Syria, and North Korea.