Nehru Cup 2012: India start off with a victory against Syria

India 2-1 Syria
India: Sunil Chhetri(45+2'), Anthony Pereira(85')
Syria: Alaa Alshbli(90+1')

Indian national team started off their Nehru Cup 2012 campaign with a 2-1 victory over two times runners up Syria thanks to goals from Sunil Chhetri and Anthony Pereira. The match was played under very wet ground conditions thanks to heavy rain during the first half of the match. Both sides were cautious in their approach for most part of the first half, with Syria looking the more stronger side. Subrata Paul making a comeback to the Indian side after prolonged injury that kept him out for months, made a strong statement with excellent saves which denied Syria to convert their chances to goals. With heavy rain and bad visibility, referee was forced to stop the game in the 33rd minute with both teams tied goalless. Both team were forced to play with aerial balls rather than ground passing when the because of the wet patches that the ground developed because of the rain. India had the last laugh after getting a goal right at the depth of first half, when Clifford Miranda did extremely well to evade his marker and place a pinpoint cross, which Sunil Chhetri effortlessly headed to the right corner of the Syrian goal.
Sunil Chhetri trying his luck from few yards out. He was adjudged Man of the Match

Second half started with better ground condition as some water water were drained but still it was not ideal to play ground passes anyway. Wayward passes were flying all around with Indians particularly found guilty of gifting the possession. Syrians were looking the better team as was the case in first half but they never really took their chances that came their way. India were happy to play the ball in their own half but with the ground conditions not very good, a disaster was waiting to happen. Few defensive lapses from Raju Gaikwad could have easily led to an equalizer but his compatriots came to the rescue several times. Indian fans were ecstatic when substitute Anthony Pereira made a darting run from the right wing after being fed by Lenny Rodrigues, he leaped past his Syrian marker, and took a curling shot from just outside the box with the Syrian custodian out of his line,doubled India's lead to 2-0 in the 85th minute. India ended the game with a scoreline of 2-1 after Syria managed to pull one back in the dying minutes through Alaa Alshbli's header from a free-kick.

So, this makes a winning start for Wim Koeveramans coaching career with Indian National team but he surely has some problems to look after. Especially the defense where regular mistakes were seen. Raju Gaikwad and Sayed Rahim Nabi were not in their best of forms today and will have to up their performances.

Indian skipper, Sunil Chhetri was undoubtedly India's best player on the pitch and was deservedly given the man of the match award. India will play their next match against Maldives on 25th August.
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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