The game started with both teams trying to get hold over the ball, but the Indians were able to take charge with Steven Dias and Sunil Chhetri combing to come close in the second minute.
Samir Naik's over excitement saw him
challenge for every ball but his enthusiasm was short lived after a talking by
the referee. This, though did not take away his exhilaration as he annoyed the
Tajakistan forward Dzhomikhon Muhidinov till he got fed up and put in a nasty
challenge ironically blaming the Indian defender. The referee handled the
situation with much maturity in this one to one battle.
India's first goal came from a Renedy Singh
cross that was shot in by Bhaichung Bhutia to be deflected of the cross bar for
Sunil Chhetri to tap it in from less than 5 yards out. The linesman though
called for an offside but was overruled by the referee through a later
decision. The Tajakistan players were furious and surrounded the referee
hounding him. But, the goal stood.
Renedy played his part in the second goal as
well with a pin point cross to Bhaichung Bhutia who made no mistake in burying
the ball into the keeper's net.
The Tajikistan players were unable to reply
and only long shots towards Subrato Paul's goal saw the ball soaring high and
not so pretty.
Naim Nasarov came closest but was unlucky to hit the cross bar
twice, beating the keeper both times. Once with a chance after a deflection but
no Tajikistan player to pounce on it.
India's third came in the 23rd
minute with Sunil Chhetri turning and shooting past a stand still keeper.
Pradeep picked up an injury which gave way to
Kashmir boy Mehrajuddin Wadoo whose thundering shot rattled the cross bar from
40 yards out.
Tajikistan were able to pull one back just a
minute from half time through Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev shot from 25 yards out.
It was all India in the first half though and
this must have made coach Bob Houghton a much happy and satisfied man.
Two major tournaments in under a year must
have added to Bob Houghton's credentials as a national team coach.
Sunil Chhetri finished his hat trick with a
solo run from the half line to push the ball past the advancing keeper. Leaving
the 20000 odd crowd in a state of sheer ecstasy.
Final Score: 4-1
Goalscorers India: Sunil Chhetri (9th, 23rd & 75th) and Bhaichung Bhutia (19th)
Tajikistan: Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev (44th)