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India vs Tajikistan, Intercontinental Cup 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: India Lose 2-4 to Tajikistan in Opener | July 7, 2019, 10:56 PM IST
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Intercontinental Cup 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: India scored the first goal against Tajikistan in the opening match of the 2019 Intercontinental Cup at the TransStadia Arena in Ahmedabad. Sunil Chhetri converted from the penalty spot after Chhangte was brought down. The talismanic striker made no mistake as he coolly with a panenka. The second goal was another show of clinical finishing as the center from Mandar Rao Desai found Chhetri unmarked inside the box. Soon after the start of the second half, India'sdefence went off to sleep as Komron Tursunov and Sheriddin Boboev punished the hosts with quick one-two strikes.

Newly appointed Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac ahead of the match had said that he wants to define the future of the sport in the country. The four-nation tournament also has Syria and North Korea.
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Jul 7, 2019 9:55 pm (IST)

FULL TIME: India 2-4 Tajikistan

That's that! A defeat in the tournament opener for India. Sunil Chhetri's two goals were not enough. 

Jul 7, 2019 9:41 pm (IST)

The goals in the first half had brought about swagger in the step of the Indian players. They strutted and pranced about the field.

As the second half has progressed, the players are looking at each other for answers, while the fans in the stands try their best to look away.

10 minutes of regulation time to go now...  

Jul 7, 2019 9:37 pm (IST)

Samiev with the goal! The last time India conceded 4 goals was back in 2016. India's defence are sleeping.

Jul 7, 2019 9:32 pm (IST)
 Tajikistan have the lead! 

Rahimov makes it 3-2. Straight through the hands of Gurpreet Singh Sadhu! Poor... poor defending from India.

Jul 7, 2019 9:22 pm (IST)
 Sheriddin Boboev makes it 2-2. Shocking defending from India. 

The game is on now. India can't sit back and relax now, their two goal advantage is no more. 

Jul 7, 2019 9:17 pm (IST)

Komron scores for Tajikistan!  

Jul 7, 2019 9:08 pm (IST)

46' - Tajikistan have started the second half with much more positive approach as compared to the previous. India's defence though keeping the forwards at a bay, who are forced to shoot from afar. 

Jul 7, 2019 9:03 pm (IST)

Sunil Chhetri's cool finish doubles the lead for India. His 70th international goal.

Jul 7, 2019 8:53 pm (IST)

India have been the better team, in attack and in defence. Sunil Chhetri clearly the difference between the two teams. Adil Khan has been the man covering the distance in defence and sweeping up the back. 

India have looked solid so far in the game. More of this please in the next half, please!

Jul 7, 2019 8:44 pm (IST)
Sunil Chhteri scores his 70th international goal. India are two goals up now against Tajikistan. 

What defending from the visitors, Chhetri finds himself all alone inside the penalty box and when the ball klanded at his feet, there was only place the ball could have ended up.... the back of the net. 

Jul 7, 2019 8:39 pm (IST)

The fans in the stands are having a gala time! 

Jul 7, 2019 8:35 pm (IST)

28' - The game have become a bit cagey in the last few minutes. Tajikistan are mounting pressure with waves of attack after attack. Should be challenge for the Indian defence. 

Anirudh Thapa made a mistake with an off the ball challenge and gives a free-kick. The free-kick though flies straight into Gurpreet's hands. 

Jul 7, 2019 8:28 pm (IST)

Watch the goal that separates the two teams. Sunil Chhetri scoring from the penalty spot... his  69th international goal.

Jul 7, 2019 8:26 pm (IST)
22' - Rahul Bheke is shown a yellow card after attempts a slide tackle on Tajikistan winger Ehsoni, who was trying to find Rahikmov on the counter. 

Jul 7, 2019 8:23 pm (IST)

18' - Tajikistan are looking to hit back but India's defense have been up to the task so far in the match. Strong positional play and zonal marking from the back four, aided of course Adil from mid-field, mean the Blue Tigers have kept trouble at bay.

Jul 7, 2019 8:16 pm (IST)

10' - Another good chance for India as Udanta Singh finds the ball at his feet with acres of place out in front. He drives through the heart of the Tajikistan defence, leaving opposition players licking his boots. His cut back trying to find Chhetri, though hits the defender and the ball out of play for a corner.

Good signs from India early on. 

Jul 7, 2019 8:09 pm (IST)

INDIA SCORE!! Mandar Rao Desai sips the ball in to Chhangte, who is brought down by Asrorov.

Sunil Chhetri makes no mistake from te spot. He coverts with a cheeky 'panenka'. India have the lead inside 4 minutes of the start the match.

Jul 7, 2019 8:00 pm (IST)

What a moment for young Narender Gahlot! The 18-year-old, who plays for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League, is a Minerva Punjab graduate.

Ahmadabad sings the national anthem along with the Indian players. The Kick-off is just moments away.

Jul 7, 2019 7:52 pm (IST)

Indian football fans are out here in numbers to support the national men's team, as they seek to defend their crown. 

Jul 7, 2019 7:45 pm (IST)

COACH SPEAKS: Igor Stimac speaks to the host broadcastor ahead of the start of the match, "We are here to win it. I don't need to hide that. This year even Syria are here, they are the favourites if we go by the FIFA rankings."

"We are gonna face a difficult game today. They have 7-8 players coming from the same club [champions FC Istiklol]; it will be a challenge against a team that's even younger than us, they have lots of potential," Stimac adds.

Jul 7, 2019 7:34 pm (IST)

Starting XI for India: Gurpreet, Mandar, Gahlot, Adil, Bheke, Amarjit, Thapa, Sahal, Chhangte, Udanta, Chhetri

Starting XI for Tajikistan: Yatimov, Dzhalilov, Asrorov, Tabrezi, Naazarov, Juraboev, Barotov; Rahimov, Ehsoni, Tursunov, Boboev

Jul 7, 2019 7:32 pm (IST)

Igor Stimac, who had coached Croatia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, speaking at the pre-tournament press conference had said: "We have a new team and our focus is on progressing our game. We are here to win the tournament. But that's not the first priority. I will not be putting too much pressure on the players for results. But will be looking at how the players respond to certain situations on the field."

"The time we have to work is limited. We cannot afford to waste even a second. The fact that we gave so many debuts in Thailand (at the King's Cup 2019) shows clearly that we are looking at the future of Indian football," the coach added. "We are one of the youngest national teams in the world."

"We play football for the supporters, and even if results suffer, we will keep trying developing our style. We are placing faith and giving chances to young players with good technical abilities. I am happy that the players are learning very fast. The process will take time. I will do everything I can to make sure that we succeed," he said.

Jul 7, 2019 7:18 pm (IST)
Sunil Chhetri and the Blue Tigers are in the house!! 

Jul 7, 2019 7:16 pm (IST)

India's squad:

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith.

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Sandesh Jhingan, Adil Khan, Anas Edathodika, Subhasish Bose, Narender Gahlot, Jerry Lalrinzuala.

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Anirudh Thapa, Pronay Halder, Rowllin Borges, Vinit Rai, Sahal Abdul, Amarjit Singh, Mandar Rao Desai, Lallianzuala Chhangte.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Jobby Justin, Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh.

Jul 7, 2019 7:13 pm (IST)

Hello and welcome to the live coverage of the first match of the 2019 Intercontinental Cup between defending champions India and Tajikistan. 

India play their first home match under new coach Igor Stimac. A new era begins for the Indian men's national football team after the third-place finish in the King's Cup in Thailand.

India vs Tajikistan, Intercontinental Cup 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: India Lose 2-4 to Tajikistan in Opener
Intercontinental Cup 2019: India vs Tajikistan (AIFF Photo)

All teams will be playing each other once, with the top two teams making it to the final, slated for July 17. India will be heading into the meet on the back of the King's Cup in Thailand, where they finished third. This will also mark Stimac's second assignment since taking over as the head coach from Stephen Constantine. India, currently ranked 101 in FIFA charts, had won the first edition of the tournament last year in Mumbai.

They start as favourites on Sunday against their 120th ranked opponents.

Tajikistan are best remembered for being defeated 4-1 by India in the final of the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup in New Delhi, leading the path for the Blue Tigers to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup.

They have never qualified for the Asian Cup and their biggest achievement till date is winning the inaugural 2006 AFC Challenge Cup in Bangladesh.

Tajikistan has never broken into double digits in the FIFA Rankings and they have not done too well in the last one year.

Most the visiting players are from Istiklol, the domestic champions.
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