Nehru Cup 1989-2009: A flashback of the invitational tournament held in India

In part two of our series, looks back at India's performance in all the past editions of the competition...
Margao, Goa

20  Jan 89 India 0-2 Poland U-21
24  Jan 89 India 0-2 USSR U-21
27  Jan 89 India 1-2 North Korea
29  Jan 89 India 1-2 Iraq Youth
31  Jan 89 India 0-1 Hungary
Teams- India, Soviet Union U-21, Hungary, Poland U-21, Iraq Youth, North Korea

Winners - Soviet Union

Final: Hungary 2-0 Soviet Union U-21
         (Zoltán Csucsánszky, Róbert Jován)

Top Scorers: Róbert Jován, Hungary
   (6 goals)             

Scorers For India
Bikash Panji - 1 goal
Satyajit Chatterjee  - 1 goal
It was finally in the 1989 edition that the Soviet juggernaut was brought to a crashing halt, as Hungary emerged winners.The Hungarian team represented by the club Videoton SC. The Soviets did send their U-21 side for that matter after winning the Nehru Cup four times consecutively. India finished bottom of the group, losing all 5 of their matches.

Thiruvananthapuram, India

13  Jan 91 India 0-2 Romania B
17 Jan 91 India 1-2 Hungary
22 Jan 91 India 0-1 China
24  Jan 91 India 1-3 Soviet Union
24  Jan 91 India 1-0 Zambia
Teams- India, Soviet Union, Hungary, China, Zambia, Romania B

Winners - Soviet Union

Final: Romania B 3-1 Hungary
         (G.Raduta, I.Stan, I.Vladoiu; Váczi )

Top Scorers: NA
Scorers For India
Bikash Panji - 2 goals
CV Pappachan - 1 goal
As the Nehru Cup went biannual, the 1991 Nehru Cup was a let down as most nations had sent under strength teams. Even then India lost 4 of their 5 matches while a Bikash Panji goal allowed them a win over Zambia. Meanwhile Hungary could not defend the Nehru Cup as the B team of Romania were victorious.

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

20  Jan 93 India 0-0 Finaland
24  Jan 93 India 1-1 Cameroon
26  Jan 93 India 0-2 Finland
30  Jan 93 India 2-2 Cameroon
Teams- Group A: DPR Korea, Romania B, Russia, Bolivia
Group B: Cameroon, Finaland, India
* Group B had 3 teams with each team playing each other twice

Winners - North Korea

Final: DPR Korea 2-0 Romania B
         (Choi Yong Son, Kim Gwang Min)

Top Scorers: Choi Yong Son, DPR Korea
   (11 goals)   
Scorers For India
VP Sathyam - 1 goal
Aqeel Ansari  - 1 goal
I.M Vijayan - 1 goal
India had every chance of progressing from Group B but they were held by Poland in the last game of the group. They drew 3 matches and lost 1 of their four. Defending champions Romania B reached the final but some outstanding goalscoring by North Korean hitman Choi Yong Son, saw them lift the trophy with Choi finishing the tournament with an incredible 11 goals.

Kolkata, West Bengal

10 Jan 95 India 0-5 Thailand
12  Jan 95 India 1-1 Iraq
22  Jan 95 India 1-0 Uzbekistan
24  Jan 95 India 1-3 Russia
Teams- India, Russia, Iraq, Thailand, Uzbekistan

Winners - Iraq

: Iraq 1-0 Russia

Top Scorers: NA
Scorers For India
Tausif Jamal - 1 goal
Bhaichung Bhutia  - 1 goal
India slumped to a massive five goal humbling against Thailand in their very first match but recovered well to draw against eventual champions Iraq and beat Uzbekistan. However a loss against Russia ended their chances of making the final in the round robin format. Iraq narrowly edged past Russia in the final to lift their first Nehru Cup.

Kochi, Kerala

01  Apr 97 India 0-0 China
04  Apr 97 India 2-2 Uzbekistan
06  Apr 97 India 0-1 Iraq
08  Apr 97 India 2-2 Ghana
Teams - India, Iraq, Ghana, China, Uzbekistan

Winners - Iraq

Final: Iraq 3-1 Uzbekistan
         (Naji, Kuralev OG, Shihab - Mataliev)

Top Scorers: R. Mataliev, Uzbekistan
   (3 goals)   Sadiq Abdul Ridha, Iraq
Scorers For India
Carlton Chapman - 2 goals
I.M Vijayan - 2 goals
Bhaichung Bhutia - 2 goals
India's best performance in a Nehru Cup so far was when they managed to reach the semi-finals only to be ousted in a penalty shootout against Iraq with the scoreline reading 2-4. Iraq went on to defend their crown successfully, defeating Uzbekistan in the final with ease.

New Delhi, India

17 Aug 07 India 6-0 Cambodia
20 Aug 07 India 1-0 Bangladesh
23 Aug 07 India 2-3 Syria
26 Aug 07 India 3-0 Kyrgyzystan
Teams- India,Cambodia, Bangladesh, Syria, Kyrgyzystan

Winners - India

Final: India 1-0 Syria
         (N.P Pradeep)

Top Scorers: Zyad Chabbo, Syria
 ( 5 goals )

Scorers For India
Sunil Chhetri - 4 goals
Bhaichung Bhutia - 3 goals
NP Pradeep - 2 goals
Steven Dias - 2 goals
KN Ajayan - 1 goal
Abhishek Yadav - 1 goal
After Bob Houghton persuaded the AIFF to bring back the Nehru Cup, after a long gap of 10 years, the 2007 edition heralded the restart of this prestigious tournament. In consultation with Houghton, the AIFF invited teams who are considerably weaker ranked than India. It paid off, as India captured their first Nehru Cup by defeating Syria in the final. Incidentally Syria had defeated them in the round robin stages. The tournament also marked the emergence of new boy on the block, Sunil Chhetri who scored 4 goals in the competition.

New Delhi, India

19  Aug 09 India 0-1 Lebanon
23 Aug 09 India 2-1 Kyrgyzystan
26 Aug 09 India 3-1 Sri Lanka
29  Aug 09 India 0-1 Syria
Teams- India, Syria, Lebanon, Kyrgyzystan, Sri Lanka

Winners - India

Final: India 1-1 Syria AET 4-2 on penalties
         (Renedy Singh; Ali Diab)

Top Scorers: Mohamed Izzadeen, Sri Lanka
 (3 goals)     Abdul Al Agha, Syria
                   Mohamed Al Zeno, Syria

Scorers For India
Bhaichung Bhutia - 2 goals
Sunil Chhetri - 1 goal
Steven Dias - 1 goal
Gouramangi Moirangthem - 1goal
Renedy Singh - 1 goal
History repeated itself as India were defeated by Syria in the round robin stages but finally triumphed over them in the finals, albeit on penalties. India started slowly, going down against Lebanon but cruised against Kyrgystan and Sri Lanka to secure the final spot. Bhaichung Bhutia was named the best player of the tournament. It was a brilliant Renedy Singh freekick in the final, in extra time that gave India the lead but it went to penalties after Syria equalised in the dying minutes.

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