Sunil Chhetri momentously equalled Bhaichung Bhutia’s record as India’s record top-scorer having finally caught up with the ex-Indian captain’s tally of 42 goals, netting the Blue Tigers’ only goal in a draw against the Azkals.
Asked if he was aware of the feat that lay before him, Chhetri professed, “Yes, I was aware of it. It wasn’t on the back of my mind. I and the team played well and I was fortunate to find the net.”
Chhetri was dropped on the bench in the SAFF Championship final against Afghanistan and when questioned if his performance against the Azkals was a response to that, Chhetri said,"I’m always hungry to score. As I said, we have a lot of reserve in the team as of now and I think we played very well against most of the teams at the SAFF and Afghanistan too. There’s no certainty that if I had started against the Afghans it would have been any different. Yes, it’s difficult to accept but these things happen. You have to be tough and have a lot of faith."
Wim Koevermans had stated how the team had practices on set-pieces and Chhetri's goal was a result of the same.
“You see last night we rehearsed as we had a session on set-pieces. It was exactly the way we had planned. We had been practicing this for a long, long time and finally when it happened, we were happy. We are a team moving on and now onto the next match (against Nepal)."
There were over 15000 fans at the stadium and Chhetri was pleased to see crowd turn up in numbers to support the national team.
“It was amazing. This is what we want to see. You see so many people packing up the stadium and it’s heartening for our players. When you’re playing for your nation, you want the crowd to back you up and it was tremendous. I want to thank all the people that came here. It was really inspiring.”
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