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Indian Football

Top 10 best goals scored by Sunil Chhetri for Indian football team: Ranked

Published at :May 17, 2024 at 8:22 PM
Modified at :May 17, 2024 at 8:23 PM
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(Courtesy : Indian football team)

JN Balraj


The forward has scored 94 international goals

On May 16, Sunil Chhetri decided to draw curtains on his 19-year-long and iconic journey in the national colours of the Indian football team. The talisman defied all odds ever since his debut in 2005 and put himself on the world map. The impact of the legendary striker has been far more than his leadership duties on the field or even his remarkable goal tally. Chhetri has consistently advocated for Indian football, frequently speaking out to promote the sport’s recognition in India. The national team captain is known for his passionate support for the game, often using social media platforms to highlight the importance of football in the country.

India’s Captain Fantastic has defined an era in Indian football, with a plethora of moments throughout his career that can’t be penned down. After sifting through a treasure trove of memories that Chhetri provided with balls crashing into the net, we were able to gather the ten most significant ones to cherish.

10. The winning goal to take India to AFC Challenge Cup final

With stitches on his head, Sunil Chhetri took India to the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 final, beating Myanmar by a solitary goal on an extremely slushy pitch in Hyderabad. The Indian team coach at that time, Bob Houghton, had called it the bravest goal he had ever seen. 

9. Equaliser in Nehru Cup 2012 final

After defeating India in the group stage of the now-historic Nehru Cup, Cameroon faced the Blue Tigers again in the final. Two strikes in each half from Cameroon in reply to Gouramagi’s opening goal put them ahead. The African side were comfortably sailing towards victory until 27-year-old Sunil Chhetri blasted the equaliser and took the game to extra time. Eventually, India won the Nehru Cup on penalties.

8. Carried the team against Palestine 

The Indian football team went toe-to-toe against Palestine in a friendly on October 6, 2014, at Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri. The Palestinian side dominated the game. However, Sunil Chhetri came to the rescue with an equaliser after India went a goal down. The game ended 3-2 in favour of the guests, but Chhetri’s strike was one to be remembered.

7. Winner in SAFF Championship 2015 final

India and Afghanistan locked horns in the SAFF Championship 2015 final, with the game standing level at full-time. Again, the star with #11 on his back scored the winner in extra time in front of more than 40,000 fans in Thiruvananthapuram to send the entire nation in jubilancy.

6. Left-footed masterclass against Oman

The left-footer from outside the area crashing into the net against Oman during the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers second-round encounter in Guwahati definitely deserves a mention. Even after that master strike from Chhetri out of nowhere, India couldn’t protect the lead and lost the game 2-1. 

5. One against the Kyrgyz Republic

The Blue Tigers needed to win against Kyrgyzstan to stay firmly in the race to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Jeje found Chhetri with an exquisite pass and the captain did the rest, helping his nation bag those crucial three points.

4. Brace vs Bangladesh in 2022 WC Qualifiers

Winless in 11 games, India faced Bangladesh in a must-win game. Igor Stimac and the team were left frustrated by Jamal Bhuyan’s side until Ashique Kuruniyan was introduced as a substitute. The winger delivered a beautiful cross for Chhetri to put the ball in the back of the net and the Indian captain doubled the lead soon.

3. The equaliser against Kuwait

Despite being the favourites to win the SAFF Championship 2023, India were humbled by Kuwait as they finished above Igor Stimac’s side. During the group stage, Kuwait was looking dominant and looked like they would come on top, but Chhetri’s strike gave India a lead against the West Asian nation. Although the Blue Tigers couldn’t hold on to their lead, Chhetri’s goal saved them from further embarrassment that could have come with a loss.

2. Intercontinental Cup final goal against Lebanon

Anwar Ali to Sandesh Jhingan, Sandesh to Lallianzuala Chhangte, and then to Nikhil Poojary who returned the ball to Chhangte with a deft touch… India was building something interesting in the final against Lebanon. After receiving the ball from Poojary, the ‘Mizo flash’ played it into the path of Sunil Chhetri and the rest as they say, is history. India had defeated Lebanon after 46 years to clinch the 2023 Intercontinental Cup. 

1. Screamer in famous triumph against Thailand

In the first half, India and Thailand were locked 1-1 in the opening fixture for Blue Tigers in AFC Asian Cup 2019. And in the second half, Udanta went past a couple of defenders and sent the ball in, and Captain Fantastic blasted it into the net. That gave India a 2-1 lead, and the team eventually won the game 4-1. 

That is India’s only win in Asian Cup final rounds since 1964.

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