The Bengaluru FC forward was often the sole goalscoring threat for the Blue Tigers.
36 matches in the group stage of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup saw a total of 96 goals being scored- at an average of 2.67 goals per game and AFC curated a list of the top 10 goals, leaving it for the audience to decide which goal was the best in an open online poll.
Among the goals, Sunil Chhetri’s second goal against Thailand in the opening group stage fixture on 6th January has also been nominated. Fans can head to AFC’s official site and vote for their favourite goal from the top 10 nominations.
???? Strikes can’t get any sweeter than this from India’s ???????? @chetrisunil11, is this your goal of the round?
— #AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) January 18, 2019
Chhetri’s nominated goal gave India the all-important forward momentum after both sides headed to the tunnels locked in a 1-1 stalemate at half time. India came pouncing against the War Elephants right as the second half kicked off.
On the 46th minute, Udanta Singh’s pace was unleashed down the right flank and he steamrolled his way into the Thai defensive third. He laid a precise low cross for Ashique Kuruniyan in the box. The young forward was smarty to realise the run Chhetri was making behind him and cheekily dummied the ball taking away the defender with him. The running ball fell to Sunil and with one swing of his magical right foot, without taking an extra touch he swerved and buried it into the far-corner with power and precision in equal measures leaving the Thai goalkeeper miserably frozen. He then wheeled off and rushed to the arms of Udanta and Ashique to celebrate his 67th goal in the international stage, surpassing the great Lionel Messi to become the secoond highest active international goalscorer.
This all-important goal restored the lead for India and would be the knife-edge on the basis of which the Blue Tigers would take control of the game and score two more goals in order to secure a historic and memorable 4-1 victory that will live long in the hearts of Indian football and its romantics.
If you want to vote for India’s talismanic frontman, then click here.