India Claims Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 Title with Convincing Win

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India Claims Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 Title with Convincing Win Image Source: Twitter

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India emerged victorious in the Intercontinental Cup by defeating Lebanon in a thrilling final match. The Blue Tigers, captained by Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte, demonstrated their prowess and unwavering resolve, attaining a thoroughly deserved victory over their adversaries. The game occurred at Kalinga Stadium on Sunday. India claimed the title after scoring two crucial goals in the second half.

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India Claims Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 Title with Convincing Win
India Claims Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 Title with Convincing Win                                                            Image Source: Twitter/Indian Football Team

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The tournament’s last league outing ended in a goalless draw between India and Lebanon. Determined to break the deadlock, India intensified its efforts, while Lebanon had a strong defensive front. However, India struggled with finishing and failed to convert several promising opportunities during the unproductive opening session.

 

Early in the game, India appealed for a penalty in the sixth minute when Ashique Kuruniyan was tripped inside the Lebanon box. Despite the protest, the referee dismissed the claim, and India continued its pursuit of a goal with little success.

In the 16th minute, Sahal Abdul Samad exhibited impressive dribbling skills as he bypassed several Lebanon defenders before passing the ball to Chhetri. Unfortunately, the Lebanon defense intercepted the pass, denying India a chance to take the lead.

 

The tides turned in India’s favor after the change of ends. In the first minute of the second half, Chhetri found the back of the net, scoring his 87th international goal. The goal resulted from a well-coordinated play on the right flank between Nikhil Poojary and Chhangte, boosting the morale of the Indian team and increasing their desire to secure a decisive victory.

 

Head coach Igor Stimac made a couple of substitutions to strengthen the attack. The changes paid off when substitute Naoram Mahesh Singh received a pass from Chhetri on the left side and unleashed a powerful left-footed strike. Although Lebanese goalkeeper Ali Sabeh managed to block the shot, Chhangte was in the right position to capitalize on the rebound, doubling India’s lead in the 66th minute.

The Indian defense, comprising Sandesh Jhingan and Anwar Ali in the center and Nikhil Poojary and Akash Mishra on the flanks, maintained discipline and effectively restricted Lebanon’s attacking opportunities.

India Claims Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 Title with Convincing Win
Indian football team players celebrating after being champion in the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 final match after beating Lebanon at Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar. (Image Source: Twitter / Indian Football Team)

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The victory holds significance for India as it marked their second win against Lebanon in 46 years. The previous encounter between the two teams took place in 1977. Since then, India has faced three draws and three losses against Lebanon. The triumph in the Intercontinental Cup final ended this long-standing jinx. It was an outstanding accomplishment for the Indian team.

 

The win secured the Intercontinental Cup title for India and brought a cash prize of $50,000. Lebanon, the runners-up, received a prize of $25,000. Furthermore, Sandesh Jhingan, an instrumental player in India’s defense throughout the tournament, was awarded the “Player of the Tournament” title and a cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000.

With the Intercontinental Cup victory behind them, the Indian team now sets its sights on the upcoming challenge in Bengaluru. Starting on June 21, India will strive to defend its SAFF Championship crown, building upon the momentum gained from their recent success.

 

India’s triumph over Lebanon in the Intercontinental Cup final showcased the team’s resilience and determination. India collaborated harmoniously, led by the illustrious duo of Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte. It executed astute strategies to attain a thoroughly merited triumph.

 

The win ended a long-standing record against Lebanon and highlighted the team’s potential for future success. As India prepares for the SAFF Championship, fans eagerly anticipate another remarkable display of skill and determination from their national team.

 

 

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