Intercontinental Cup: Sunil Chhetri brace not enough as India suffer shock 4-2 defeat to Tajikistan 

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Tajikistan came back with four goals in the second half as they inflicted a shock 4-2 defeat on hosts India in the opening match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Indian captain Sunil Chhetri had scored two goals to put the hosts 2-0 up at half time, but a spirited comeback from Tajikistan saw them grab all three points by putting four goals past a hapless Indian defence.

India head coach Igor Stimac had two 18-year-olds in the starting 11 with debutant Narender Gahlot partnering Adil Khan in the central defence while there was also a place in the 11 for Amarjit Singh Kiyam who made his international debut in last month’s King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand.

India captain Chhetri, top scorer of the inaugural Intercontinental Cup with eight goals, stepped upto take the spot kick and opened his scoring in the second edition in brilliant fashion as he sent goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov the wrong way with a cheeky Panenka, again he sent tgeball into the net to make it 2-0 in the 41st minute.

However, a resurgent Tajikistan side hammered four goals, making the most of India’s shaky defence, to complete a tremendous comeback and claim a first win in over seven months. The Blue Tigers will now head back to the drawing board and Stimac will perhaps have to re-work his line-up.

Syria will face DPR Korea on day two of the Intercontinental Cup on Monday while Stimac’s defending champions will be taking on the North Koreans on July 13.

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