Football – a game that is loved by many across the globe. For us, football is synonymous to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo – the big names we have been hearing for a very long time now. Yesterday was different though, and when I say different, I mean neither Messi nor Ronaldo was around. Yet, it was an amazing evening for football lovers, as India took on Nepal in a FIFA international friendly game. Honestly speaking, football is not really big in India. But yes, we do have an international football team with some amazing players from different parts of the country. Last night, Indian football fans witnessed an encounter between India and its neighbor, Nepal. Both the teams flew down to Mumbai for the friendly match.
Team Nepal looked quite confident at the start, but the men in blue were no less, and didn't stop at anything that came their way. The only thing Team India lacked was the presence of their star player, Sunil Chhetri, in the team. Nepal, with a bunch of very young players, put up a good show and played brilliantly in the first half. The boys in blue looked a little shaky and had very little ball possession at the start. But the fans came out in decent numbers to support the home team, and of course they cheered the loudest to pump up the team. Nepal had a few chances that came their way, but could not convert those into goals. Not to forget the fabulous goal keeping by Gurpreet Sandhu, who jumped, stretched, and dived at everything to make sure he saved all the strikes. In short, it was a brilliant night for the goalkeeper.
The second half was the complete opposite. The boys in blue came out with confidence and looked fresh along with the new substitutes. While they looked calm and dominating, something unexpected happened. Biraj Maharjan of Nepal was shown a red card for pulling down Bikas Jairu, India's striker just outside the goal box. This meant that Nepal were now left with 10 men to play the game.
In the 60th minute of the game, Sandesh Jhingan – India's defender – provided the lead for India by scoring the first goal of the evening. This was a big breakthrough for the men in blue. Nepal tried to do everything to prevent India from scoring, but they failed to defend the strike from Sandesh. There was another moment of relief for Team India, when they managed to put in their second goal in the 77th minute. This came from Jeje Lalpekhlua, whose goal pretty much ended the game for Team Nepal. They played well, but were completely shook after the disastrous red card.
Nonetheless, winning and losing are a part of the game. Both the teams gave their best and at the end of the day, India came out victorious and wrapped it up with a 2-0 win. Both the teams played in the correct spirit of the game. We wish to see football being promoted on a bigger platform in India and the ones with passion for the game getting an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.