Bhubaneswar,June 11: Two- goals in the first 15 minutes of the match enabled hosts India beat Mongolia 2-0 in its first match of the Intercontinental Cup Football tournament at the Kalinga Stadium here last evening.
Abdul Samad (2’) and Lallianzuala Chhangte (15’) scored in the first half.
Earlier Lebanon beat Vanuatu 3-1 in the opening fixture of the tournament.
India dominated the proceedings from the very start as they made attacking runs into the Mongolian half. Minutes into the match, India scored the opening goal. Anirudh Thapa ran down the right flank and crossed one into the middle of the penalty box. Mongolian goalkeeper Mönkh-Erdene Enkhtaivan managed to get a hand to it in an attempt to parry it away from onrushing Sunil Chhetri.
However, unmarked Sahal Abdul Samad collected the loose ball and slotted it into the bottom corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Buoyed by the early goal, the hosts increased the pressure on the Mongolian defence in an attempt to double their lead. The constant pressure paid off from a corner as Lallianzuala Chhangte scored from the rebound after Sandesh Jhingan’s header from Anirudh Thapa’s cross was cleared off the line by a Mongolian defender.
India pressed forward while Mongolia looked to counter-attack in search of a goal.
However, the hosts defenders were up to the task and thwarted any attempts by the visitors.
The Indians focused on maintaining ball possession in the second half. Mongolia, meanwhile, showed more attacking intent in order to find their first goal. As the game progressed, the hosts fell back and counter-attacked. The Mongolians, despite attacking in waves, failed to break the rival defence as the match ended with the hosts taking full points.
India will play the 164th-ranked Vanuatu next on Monday.