MUMBAI: Amory Gvaune scored the equaliser as St. Kitts and Nevis hold India 1-1 in the last fixture of the Tri-Nation International Football series in Mumbai on Thursday.
Stephen Constantine’s well-drilled India side looked impenetrable as the Blue Tigers took a 1-0 lead into the break thanks to Jackichamd Singh. In the second half, however, the Caribbeans came flying out of the traps and finally managed to break India down when Gvaune equalized from a corner.
Despite the draw, India managed to win the tournament having beaten Mauritius 2-1 in the tournament opener last week.
Going into the game, Constantine swapped goal scorers from last time which sawe Balwant Singh making a start while Robin Singh sit out in dugout.
India started the proceedings for the match, and attacked within the first 2 minutes of play with Balwant in center but failed to pass the final defense line.
In the 10th minute a Jackichand did some athletic moves to tap in a ball from midfield in St. Kitts box but it eventually landed in for a corner to Indian team, which produces nothing. In the 15th minute opposition’s Tishan played some excellent ball in India’s half which scared hosts a bit, but was safe at the end.
Balwant played some exciting game in the first half of the match and also got some good help up front from Jeje Lapekhlua.
Real chance came in the 20th minute with Jeje’s pass to Holicharan Narzary in right flank and the later his cross inside the box which saw Balwant headed the ball toward the goal but was saved by Jamal from St. Kitts.
Later Rowlin Borges got a good run till the opposition box but failed to defeat the defense in the end, but won a corner for home team, corner was well tapped by captain Sandesh Jhingan, who guided to alone man Jackichand outside the box, the winger, however, powered it over crossbar.
Yohannes had a good strike over Indian bars but failed to convert. In next minute Balwant and Jeje paired to play some head shots near oppositions Box, where Justin and Clyde muscled jeje in between, which saw a free kick for India just outside Box and Balwant put the ball inside the goal but goal was disallowed due to offside by Narayan Das.
After half hour mark St. Kitts got a free kick in India’s half which was saved by Indian custodian. Some complaints from Saint Kitts dugout saw referee Sri Lankan Dilan Perera stopped the play and had a word with the team management near opposition dugout.
First goal of the match came from Jackichand’s header in 39th minute which he received as a cross from Rowlin. The header was executed perfectly and St. Kitts goal keeper Jamal had no answer for that.
Rowlin came down to business again when he passed to Jeje in 43rd minute of the play, which Jeje hit but saved by Jamal near the crossbar.
At half time India is leading the visiting side by one goal and that goal came from Jackichand’s header.
As second half started India got first move near opposition box but failed to get any constructive out of it. In return St. Kitts also had a chance but failed to capitalize. Real chance came in 49th minute when Pritam Kotal had a good chance but misplaced and shot wide.
In 50th minute Robin had a great run from midfield to box but he didn’t gave a pass to Jeje and lost the ball, if he had passed to the later that might have been a goal for India.
In very next minute Jeje had a great run and gave a timely pass to Robin, who lost the ball to St. Kitts defense.
In 56th minute Eugeneson Lyngdoh long ranger sailed over the bar. A couple of changed for host as Nikhil Poojary comes in for Jackichand and Md. Rafique comes in place of Eugeneson in 61st minute.
After the changes, visitors started to make some pressure as Rogers pilled a shot over Indian bar. Indian pair of Borges and Poojary put up some good skills near opposition box but ultimately Poojary pass to Robin which later.
St. Kitts equalized from the corner kick as substitute Amory Gvaune taps in from the flag-kick. This goal came after several pressure situation in Indian box which were saved by Indian custodian near the goal post. Jhingan had some great tackles in Indian defense line and prevented many opposition strikes into Indian half.
St. Kitts started some good play as their Kimaree, Carlos and Tishan played a huge role in a good and successful comeback. A good chance for India as Poojary sarted a good pass to Robin, who later passed to Rafique, who failed to capitalized and missed the sitter.
Constantine subsituted Rowlin Borges with Anirudh Thapa in 80th minutes. As soon as Anirudh Thapa came in he had good run in opposition half. Robin received a brilliant pass from Das in midfield which he passed to Poojary, he had a great run but failed to score or pass in final frontier.
Manvir Singh came in place of Jeje four minutes from time which was his second substitute appearance in as many games. He missed in his second minute on the field when Poojary passed to him and he was in almost perfect place to score but completely miss timed.
Most exciting moment came in additional minutes as Robin kicked ball which hit goal post and later saved by jamal. Last five minutes were very exciting as India got chances after chances mostly Poojary and Robin were involved in all but failed to convert upfront.
At the end it was a draw, both team played well and it was exciting second half at the end. Though India missed many opportunities but should take this result as we were missing many big names likes Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who all are in club duty for AFC Cup.