The talismanic forward scored a brace against Thailand on Sunday night.

India’s 54-year long wait to win a game at the prestigious AFC Asian Cup finally came to an end on Sunday night. The Indian football team produced a brave performance to defeat Thailand 1-4. A brace from Sunil Chhetri and goals from Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua respectively secured the historic win.

Chhetri was extremely delighted as he poured heaps of praise on everyone who made this win possible. “You can see the jubilation and happiness, I am so happy for the boys. Every one of them ran and defended for their lives,” he said to FIFA Media.

“I didn’t know (that this was our first Asian Cup win in 55 years). It feels good because it is a tough pool. When we started thinking about it, we felt that all the other teams were more experienced and better than us. But, the manner in which the boys fought shows a lot of character,” he added.

The Indian talisman pointed out that his side will be difficult to play against in the tournament. “I have said this before: we are a very difficult team to play against. We may not be the most technical team, but we will fight till the end and that’s what the boys showed,” he said.


The brace against Thailand also meant that Chhetri has racked up his international goal tally to a mammoth 67 goals, placing him in second spot in the list of active goalscorers in international football, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who sits at the top with 85 goals. Chhetri seemed less amused by his own record as he said, “I can think about my goals some ten years later, At the moment, we need to focus. The goals need to come and it just doesn’t matter who scores.” 

The Blue Tigers will next face the hosts UAE on Thursday and will battle against Bahrain on 14th January to conclude the group stages.

“It will be difficult as all the three teams are really good,” he reaffirmed. “You saw how UAE and Bahrain played (in a 1-1 draw in the tournament’s opening match). Bahrain were so good, UAE are the home side and they are technically good. For us, every game is a fight,” he concluded.