The start of the year 2019 witnessed the unfolding of the awaited AFC Asian Cup 2019. For the uninitiated, the AFC Asian Cup is an international association football tournament run and managed by the Asian Football Confederation. These are held once every four years (barring a few exceptions).
The performance of the Indian Blue Tigers was nothing short of commendable! Yes, we bowed out of the Asian Cup after losing 0-1 to Behrain but kudos to our team for their undaunted spirit and energy.
Looking back, India’s most fantastic finish at the AFC was way back in 1964 which also happened to be their debut tournament. Performance wise, we matched up to that in the ongoing AFC and this really is applause worthy.
Our Blue Tigers have been in a great form in this past one year, having competed in 12 International games this year and emerging victorious in six of them!
India played Thailand on January 6 at Abu Dhabi and boy, were we a delight to watch! Our blue Tigers displayed a power packed and dogmatic performance! Veteran striker Sunil Chhetri struck the opening score 27 minutes into the game from the penalty spot. Things only got worse for Thailand with some amazing strikes from Anirudh Thapa and substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua. With a stupendous victory of 4-1, team India had all us Indian roaring and gleaming with pride!
This was India’s first Asia cup win in 55 years!
With this win, the Blue Tigers scripted history as this is India’s biggest win in the AFC since 1964!
There are a very few things that are nearly as enthralling as a win but team India’s post match celebration with the fans was overwhelming!
Our second match in the Group A category against the hosts UAE turned out to be a deterrent to our soaring spirits post Thailand. The Indian team put up a tremendous show and the UAE defenders were given a real tough match. Despite a promising and an on-point performance in the first half, India failed to keep to its opening performance and lost 0-1 to UAE after some real good strike by the UAE midfielders.
With 65 International goals to his kitty already, this AFC Asian Cup escalated Chhetri as the second highest international goal scorer with 67 goals now to his credit post our win against Thailand. With this ranking, Chhetri leaves behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi and is second to Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The way our Blue tigers played showed immense character. They did us all very, very proud! Chhetri, Thapa, Jhinghan, Gurpreet and every player of the team kicked all the way to the cause. Their perseverant and relentless efforts had every Indian’s heart welling up with jubilance. And even though our team had to pull out of the AFC after losing to Bahrain, this is a positive, resounding start to a great and adventurous journey ahead. We Indians will always root for you, Blue Tigers!
Peachmode applauds the gutsy and unflinching spirit of the team!