Intercontinental Cup: Chhetri hat-trick blanks Chinese Taipei
Mumbai -- Captain Sunil Chhetri led from the front with a hat-trick as hosts India flexed their muscles and outplayed Chinese Taipei 5-0 to begin their campaign on a strong note in the four-nation Intercontinental Cup.
Chhetri, India's all-time leading scorer, made his mark by scoring in the 14th, 34th and 62nd minute at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Chhetri's team-mate at Bengaluru FC, Udanta Singh, netted the other goal in the 48th minute, in what was a thoroughly dominant display by Stephen Constantine's men. Pronay Halder completed the rout of Chinese Taipei by finding the back of the net with his 78th minute long ranger from the edge of the box.
Such was India's dominance -- they enjoyed 67% possession -- that their goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu remained a spectator for a major part of the game.
India started on the offensive straightaway and were rewarded for their attacking intent when Jeje Lalpekhlua forwarded a through ball for Chhetri to slot the ball past the Chinese Taipei goalkeeper following an expert first touch.
India soon doubled their lead as Chhetri, after a fine team display of one-touching passing by him, Jeje and Anirudh Thapa at the edge of the box, struck from a difficult angle.
India went into the break with their noses way ahead.
Udanta added to the scoreline in the second half after he showed fine dribbling skills and sliced through the Taipei defence before finishing with his left foot. Chhetri completed his hat-trick with a powerful strike into the top corner of the net following a lovely one-touch move.