Sahal Abdul Samad
A dominant India struck two quick first-half goals to beat lower-ranked Mongolia 2-0 and begin their Intercontinental Cup campaign on a winning note here on Friday.
Sahal Abdul Samad and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored in the second and 14th minute respectively as the 101st ranked Indians emerged victorious over their opponents placed 183rd in the world, at the Kalinga Stadium in hot and humid conditions.
India, the 2018 edition champions, dominated the match for most part, attacking and creating chances while the Mongolians were left to defend their citadel. The home side had a 65 per cent possession in the match.
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The only worrying part for head coach Igor Stimac was the inability of his attackers to find the opposition net on numerous occasions in the second half.
Captain and talisman Chhetri had a relatively quiet day as he played deeper than he usually does and was replaced by Rahim Ali in the 71st minute. Lalengmawia Ralte also was not up to the mark and he was replaced by Jeakson Singh.
India made a fast start and were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes with strikes from Sahal and Chhangte. Midfielder Anirudh Thapa found himself in the clear on the right flank in the second minute and he pulled one back into middle of the penalty box.
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