Team India is on the rise in football. After keeping a clean sheet throughout the Hero Intercontinental Cup, the 101-ranked team defeated Lebanon in the finals of the prestigious tournament to lift the cup. Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte were the heroes of the grand finale winning the match 2-0.
This is India’s second title triumph in the tournament, following their win in the inaugural edition in 2018. Korea won in 2019. In the last leg of his career, the 38-year-old Chhetri found the back of the net in the 46th minute of the title clash, breaking the deadlock right after play resumed after a goalless first half.
Buoyed by the lead and backed by a near-capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium, India consolidated their position when Lallianzuala Chhangte, the provider of the first goal, found the target in the 66th-minute, leaving the fans delighted and their 99th-ranked opponents stunned.
Soon after the accomplishment, it was announced by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that a whopping ₹1 crore cash prize will be given to the team for their success.
Patnaik said, “It is a matter of great pride for our State to host this prestigious Intercontinental Cup. Congratulations to India on their victory in the face of stiff competition. It is our intention to hold many more football events in Odisha and support the growth of the sport in Odisha and India.”
With this title win, the focus will shift to SAFF Championship in Bengaluru. The hosts will play Pakistan in their opening game on June 21.