The Blue Tigers are now on top of Group D courtesy the victory.

India kicked off their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in style, as a brace from Sunil Chhetri was enough to ensure all three points against Cambodia. Despite lacking penetration in the early stages, the Indian attack gradually grew into the game.

Liston Colaco was brought down in the box in the 11th minute. The skipper converted from the resulting penalty, despite Cambodia goalkeeper diving the right way, to give India the lead. In the 59th minute, he pulled India clear with a smashing header into the corner. Igor Stimac’s men put on a brave performance in front of the crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium, but will need keep up the momentum in the two remaining games.

Some players caught the eye of many tonight, while most others perfectly performed their duties. Here is a look at the player ratings of India in their 2-0 win against Cambodia.

Gurpreet Singh (GK) – 6.5

India’s No.1 was rarely called into action with Cambodia pinned into their own half. His only noticeable moment came in the 45th minute, when he saved a free-kick from Keo Sokpheng which was bending into the top corner.

Akash Mishra – 7.5

Hyderabad FC’s flying full-back was a constant menace down the left flank. He combined beautifully with Brandon Fernandes and Liston Colaco throughout the game.

The 20-year old cleared a dangerously dipping cross in the 34th minute. He also made use of his weaker foot going forward, testing Hul Kimhuy with a rasping strike in the 41st minute.

Sandesh Jhingan – 6.5

Jhingan neatly tidied up at the back for the Blue Tigers tonight. The 28-year-old looked like he was back to his best, oozing with confidence. He did have a dangerous moment very early on in the game when he fouled a Cambodian forward in the third minute. He received a yellow card for the same.

Anwar Ali – 7.0

Anwar Ali was impeccable as the more aggressive of the centre-back pair. Both Sieng Chanthea and Keo Sokpheng tried to press him early on. However, Ali remained unfazed and helped solidify India’s back four.

Roshan Singh – 6.5

Roshan Singh with yet another solid game on the international level. While not matching the attacking prowess that his fellow full-back Mishra portrayed, Roshan remained quite high up the pitch.

He kept the Cambodian defence on their toes, curling in a beautiful cross in the 22nd minute which failed to meet anyone’s head.

Anirudh Thapa – 6.0

Thapa wasn’t the most impressive player on the pitch, but put in a good shift nonetheless. Playing beside the always energetic Suresh Singh, the Dehradun-man did well to keep up the tempo of the game.

Suresh Singh – 6.0

Suresh put in a solid performance in the middle of the park tonight. The Bengaluru FC maestro did more of the defensive work while also combining with Brandon Fernandes, especially in the first half. He showcased his mobility and physical ability on multiple occasions.

Brandon Fernandes – 8.0

The man from Margao was at his magnificent best at the Salt Lake Stadium. He kept toying with the Cambodian defence, receiving ample support on the left from Liston and Akash, and from Suresh in the middle.

In the 59th minute, he put in a peach of a cross to the far post which Chhetri nodded into the back of the net. He almost scored in the very next minute, which a long range effort with his left foot.

Manvir Singh – 5.0

Not the best outing for the man from Punjab. His runs were mistimed and he played a little too many back-passes. Chhetri often cut a frustrated figure after Manvir took too long to make a cross or run into free spaces.

Liston Colaco – 7.0

Electric as usual, although he slightly overdid a few things. It was his mazy run which forced Kok Boris to bring him down inside the box. The following penalty was converted by Chhetri. Colaco often lacked the final flourish despite getting into multiple good positions.

Sunil Chhetri – 8.5

Chhetri didn’t have too many special moments in the game today, but was there when it mattered the most. He dispatched the penalty in the 14th minute and headed a beautiful cross from Brandon Fernandes into the net in the 59th minute. The man now has 82 international goals – a truly staggering number.

Substitutions

Pritam Kotal – 5.5

The local lad came on late and put in a neat shift. He remained consistent, not giving too much space to the Cambodian defenders or making mistakes.

Sahal Samad – 5.5

Sahal got into some good positions after coming on, but failed to make any impact given the limited time. The cameo will give him confidence with two important games coming up in the space of just six days.

Ashique Kuruniyan – 5.5

Ashique Kuruniyan found himself inside the box after a quick burst of speed. However, he lashed his shot wide. He played in a much advanced role, compared to his full-back position for his club.

Glan Martins – 5.5

Glan shouldered the gap left by Thapa in the middle of the park. He tried his trademark shot from far out but failed to keep it on target.

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