22.03.2017: INDIA 3-2 CAMBODIA ( FT)
IND : Sunil 36, Jeje 50, Sandesh 53'
CAM : Labrevy 37, Vathanaka 62'

IND : Gurpreet, Pritam, Arnab(Sandesh – 46th), Anas, Fulganco, Vineeth (Jackichand – 35th), Rowllin (Milan – 89th), E. Lyngdoh (Md. Rafique – 63rd), Sunil, Robin (Udanta – 74th), Daniel (Jeje – 46th).

62': GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL 3-2 to India, Vathanaka scored.
53': GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL 3-1 to India, Sandesh Jingham scored from header
50': GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL 2-1 to India, Jeje scored from a pass of Jackichand Singh.
36': GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL 1-1 to India, Sunil scored from a corner kick of Lyndoh.
37': GOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLL 1-0 to Cambodia, Labrevy scored .

AIFF PRESS RELEASE : India broke the jinx of not having won an away International Friendly since June 2005 when they beat Cambodia 3-2 in an International Friendly at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium on Wednesday (March 22, 2017). Both the teams were locked 1-1 at half-time.

A spell of three minutes immediately after the interval settled the issue for Stephen Constantine’s boys, a match which witnessed two International debuts for India – Anas Edathodika and Milan Singh becoming the 512 and 513th player to represent India respectively.

The two substitutions at the interval - Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua coming in for Arnab Mondal and Daniel Lalhlimpuia respectively, did the trick for India. The duo made an instant impact, scoring the next two goals, and despite Cambodia desperately throwing men in attack during the later stage, India had sealed it by then.

Changing over, India made an instant impact as a one-two between Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lelpekhlua found the former in the clear, but his rasping left-footer was fisted back by the rival Goalkeeper. The very next minute, India earned a corner – Jeje’s shot being deflected over. The corner, however, went abegging.

Momentum gained, India went for the kill and the three-minute storm started thereafter. Jackichand Singh, running down the middle essayed it for Jeje, who evaded the rival defence and tapped it into the net to silence the 70,000 strong crowd. Three minutes later, India scored their third goal – a deft flick from Jeje off a Eugeneson Lyngdoh corner was headed in mercilessly by Jhingan.

Earlier, in the first half, which was dominated mostly by the home team, India surged into the lead in the 35th minute. The rival Goalkeeper made a mess while leaping to gather a routine corner from Eugenson Lyngdoh and as the ball slipped in between his palms, Sunil Chhetri lurking around, gleefully tapped it in. The lead, however, lasted barely a minute as the hosts pulled it back – striker Laboravy making use of the vacant space between the two central defenders.

The victory did come as a welcome relief for India who were playing their first match after mauling Puerto Rico in September 2016. But as the side gear up for the crucial match in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifier against Myanmar, Constantine will have to plug in a few areas in the next few days.


MATCH PREVIEW :: AIFF PRESS RELEASE : As one gears up for India’s International Friendly against Cambodia in Phnom Penh, you cannot keep your eyes off the history book. A trip down the memory lane, quite blatantly points out that India last won an away International Friendly way back in June 2005 – a solitary goal victory against Pakistan, a side which was Captained by present Team Manager Shanmugam Venkatesh.

For the normal fan, there’s no escaping the harsh reality, it stays natural. But the turf at Phnom Penh, National Coach Stephen Constantine informs “is an artificial one” It certainly is a concern but doesn’t trouble the Coach much.

“We will be playing on an artificial turf. We would have preferred to play on grass. But we need to adjust. It is a very important match for us ahead of the crucial match against Myanmar in the AFC Cup Qualifiers. I thank AIFF for arranging the same,” he said. “There are 4-5 players who are carrying slight niggles so I haven’t yet decided on the starting XI. Let me see what suits us best,” the Coach stated. “The weather conditions in Phnom Penh are quite similar to that in Yangon and it will be a good test for us.”

For the record, Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be leading the side on Wednesday (March 22, 2017), his second consecutive match as the National Team Captain, after India’s 4-1 mauling of Puerto Rico in last September. The squad of 24 headed to Phnom Penh after training in Mumbai and though the boys started assembling from March 13th onwards, it was not before March 15th that the entire squad assembled for those “rigorous training sessions.”

“You need International games to develop as a Team and the AIFF has confirmed International friendlies until October which is very positive. The more you play the more Team chemistry you develop and the more the Players gel,” Constantine maintained. Gurpreet who was present at the pre-match Press Conference said: "The facilities here are good. We are practicing hard and hope to end on a positive note."

“There is a very healthy competition to get into the starting XI. It is a huge honour to get selected for India and the Players understand that. The philosophy in the team stays that there are no guarantees for anyone and you need to work hard to stay in the squad and work harder to get into the Starting XI.” The harsh reality of history hits you hard on your face. Can India rescript it? The kick-off on March 22 (Wednesday) is at IST 5pm.