India 2-0 Nepal: Sandesh Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhlua lead Blue Tigers' triumph over neighbours
Stephen Constantine's side warmed-up nicely in Mumbai ahead of next week's AFC Asian Cup qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic...

The Indian National Football Team beat Nepal 2-0 in an international friendly match at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai on Tuesday.

Goals from Sandesh Jhingan (60') and Jeje Lalpekhlua (78') helped the hosts overcome the neighbours from the Himalayas. A red card for Bimal Maharjan (68') meant that the fellow South Asian nation ended the game with ten men on the field.

Stephen Constantine went in with a familiar 4-1-3-2 formation sans Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh, both ruled out with injuries. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu wore the armband in between the sticks as Mohammed Rafique was preferred over Eugeneson Lyngdoh in midfield.

Halicharan Narzary got the nod ahead of Bikash Jairu for the left winger's spot in the eleven. Robin Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua led the line as expected.

Young Heman Gurung was given a rare start by Koji Gyotoku. Along with rising star Bimal Gharti Magar, Nawayug Shrestha made up the forward line over Bharat Khawas for the travelling Nepalese side.

In a slow start to the game, not less than four players from both sides collided head first in three different incidents. Rafique and Rowllin Borges continued on with strapped head bandages, well within the first ten minutes.

Borges played pivot as he sprayed long balls in front, which Robin Singh failed to get a hold of early on. Jeje Lalpekhlua looked rusty with the Mizoram born forward guilty of giving away cheap fouls.

Jackichand Singh who was missing in action since the end of the I-League season shore up the right flank. In the 24th minute, his cross was met by a leaping Robin Singh but the striker missed the target by inches.

Eugenson Lyngdoh was brought on around the thirty-minute mark for an injured Borges. His introduction allowed the Indians to create space in the middle and injected pace on the flanks with Narzary and Jackichand often switching channels.

Jeje struggled to find the net from Lyngdoh's flick in the 33rd minute. Moments later, Lyngdoh himself went for glory but Ananta Tamang blocked the shot.

It was towards the fag end of the first half's injury time that Nepal squandered a golden chance to break the deadlock. In a rare novice decision by Gurpreet, he came way off his box as Nawayug Shrestha beat off a challenge from Anas Edathodika to only shoot wide of an empty net.

Robin, who missed nearly half a dozen chances and Jackichand, who looked short of match practice made way for Jairu and Daniel Lalhlimpuia for India as the game resumed for the second period.

Sujal Shrestha, who scored Nepal's winner in the AFC Solidarity Cup final last November took a swipe from range that Gurpreet easily saved in the 53rd minute.

Jairu turned the heat on as his low shot was denied by Chemjong who dived to his right. It was the Sikkimese winger who helped create the opener for the hosts right on the hour mark.

Jeje chested the ball from Jairu's lob and defender Sandesh Jhingan who found himself inside the opposition box displayed fine poaching skills, slamming the ball home with his weaker left foot.

Nepal skipper Bimal Maharjan was given his marching orders for a brazen challenge on Bikash Jairu and the visitors were reserved to ten men for the better part of the last twenty minutes.

Mohammed Rafique burst out from the right flank and his low cross into the box was slotted past Chemjong by Jeje who was clinical with his first touch effort to double the  Blue Tigers'  lead.

Second half substitute Daniel Lalhlimpuia put on a much better show than Robin Singh as the youngster got behind the ball a couple of times but failed to breach the Gorkhali backline.

India won their sixth consecutive international game as they would carry forward the momentum into next Tuesday's 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against the Kyrgyz Republic in Bengaluru.

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