Napoli hold Juventus to 1-1 draw amid jeers for Gonzalo Higuain

Higuain, who has not scored in five matches, was largely anonymous. (Source: Reuters) Higuain, who has not scored in five matches, was largely anonymous. (Source: Reuters)

Gonzalo Higuain’s every touch was greeted with whistles and jeers by his former fans but the Argentina forward had little impact as Juventus could only draw 1-1 at Napoli in Serie A on Sunday.

It was Higuain’s first time back at Napoli since his move to bitter rival Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros ($100 million) after scoring 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record.

Higuain, who has not scored in five matches, was largely anonymous.

“Higuain had a good game, I’m happy with him,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “He should be grateful to Napoli for what it gave him and Napoli should be grateful to him for what he did.”

Thousands of blue whistles had been handed out before the match and they were used often by Napoli supporters to vent their hatred toward their former hero.

They will have another opportunity on Wednesday, when the two teams meet again in the second leg of their Italian Cup semifinal, which Juventus leads 3-1.

League leader Juventus moved six points clear of Roma. Napoli remained third, 10 points below the Bianconeri.

“When a team plays like Napoli did tonight, a coach can go home with all sorts of emotions apart from disappointment,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “Never in Italy have we seen Juventus in such difficulty.”

It took Juventus less than seven minutes to take the lead when Sami Khedira played a one-two with Miralem Pjanic and slotted past Napoli goalkeeper Rafael, who was standing in for the injured Pepe Reina.

Napoli dominated but Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne sent efforts wide, while Dries Mertens fired straight at Gianluigi Buffon.

Jose Callejon had the ball in the back of the net in the 56th but it was ruled out for offside.

Napoli’s pressure paid off four minutes later as Mertens played in a delightful through ball which Hamsik curled into the top right corner.

Napoli almost doubled its tally four minutes later as Mertens ran onto a woeful back pass from Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah but his effort came off the right post.


Even the best players make mistakes.

Teenage goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been earning plaudits _ and points for AC Milan _ with fantastic performances this season. Not on Sunday when he gifted Pescara the opening goal.

Gabriel Paletta’s back pass seemed innocuous enough but it bounced over Donnarumma’s foot and into the back of the net in the 12th minute. It went down as the Milan defender’s own goal but exposed Donnarumma’s weakness with his feet.

“They’re mistakes that can happen,” Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said. “He has to remain calm and serene as he showed himself to be during the match. If we had won, we would have laughed about it.”

The 18-year-old `keeper had recovered from his error when he batted away a cross off the head of Jean-Cristophe Bahebeck at full stretch on the half-hour.

Milan leveled four minutes from the break. Gerard Deulofeu went on a rapid counterattack and his effort was parried by Pescara goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo. After a couple of deflections the ball fell to Mario Pasalic, who equalized with an impressive swiveling volley.

The visitors almost snatched all three points but Alessio Romagnoli’s header came off the post.

Milan remained seventh, one point off Inter Milan and the last qualifying spot for the Europa League. Inter hosts Sampdoria on Monday and the two Milan teams face off in the derby on April 15.


Alejandro Gomez netted a hat trick as Atalanta kept up its push for a European spot with a comfortable win at 10-man Genoa.

Genoa forward Mauricio Pinilla, who is on loan from Atalanta, was sent off on the hour for two quick bookings _ the first for a tackle on visiting goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and the second for his protests.

Atalanta moved fifth, two points behind Lazio and six behind Napoli.

Andrea Belotti kept up his bid to finish as the league’s top goal scorer as Torino fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Udinese.

Belotti, who also had a goal ruled out for offside, netted his 23rd goal of the season on his 100th Serie A appearance, moving him level with Edin Dzeko at the top of the scoring charts.

Palermo lost 3-1 at home to Cagliari in a match which saw Han Kwang-Song become the first North Korean to play in Serie A after the 18-year-old Cagliari forward replaced Marco Sau four minutes from time.

Khouma Babacar scored minutes after coming off the bench to help Fiorentina to a 1-0 win over Bologna and leave it three points behind Milan.

Crotone won 2-1 at Chievo Verona to keep its faint hopes of avoiding relegation alive. It moved five points below 17th-placed Empoli and safety.

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Ligue 1 Roundup: Nice strengthen grip on third place after beating Bordeaux

All of Mario Balotelli’s 11 league goals this season have been scored at home. (Source: Reuters) All of Mario Balotelli’s 11 league goals this season have been scored at home. (Source: Reuters)

Striker Mario Balotelli equalized from the penalty spot and then helped to create the winner as Nice rallied to beat Bordeaux 2-1 in the French league on Sunday.

The win moved third-placed Nice one point behind Paris Saint-Germain and four behind leader Monaco, although they both have a game in hand on Nice, which hosts PSG at the end of April.

All of Balotelli’s 11 league goals this season have been scored at home, and the Italian forward confidently struck a 16th-minute penalty after veteran midfielder Jeremy Toulalan was adjudged to have fouled right back Arnaud Soquet as he burst into the area.

Bordeaux had taken the lead in the ninth minute thanks to a fine goal from Gaetan Laborde. The striker took advantage of an error from Nice’s Brazilian center half Dante to break into the penalty area, beat two defenders and score with an angled finish.

After leveling from the penalty spot, Balotelli showed clever anticipation to cushion a pass into the path of midfielder Valentin Eysseric, who turned to hit a brilliant curling strike past goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso in the 27th minute from just outside the penalty area.

There were no goals in the second half but Bordeaux missed four chances, with forward Francois Kamano missing an open goal and missing with another strike.

“In the second half they dictated the game. If you lose the ball against them, they are lethal,” Nice coach Lucien Favre said of Bordeaux. “But you shouldn’t forget that we have several players injured, so hats off to the team.”

Bordeaux is in sixth place, one point behind fifth-placed Marseille.


Lyon missed an early penalty and conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at 10-man Rennes.

Lyon failed to take advantage of having an extra man for nearly the whole game after Algerian defender Ramy Bensebaini was sent off in the fifth minute. The resulting spot kick, taken by Lyon top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, was well saved by goalkeeper Benoit Costil.

Midfielder Corentin Tolisso went close three times as Lyon dominated the first half, but the visitors had to wait until the 53rd minute before taking the lead when forward Maxwell Cornet turned in a cross from left back Jeremy Morel.

Congolese forward Firmin Mubele equalized for midtable Rennes in the 82nd with his first goal since joining Rennes from Qatari club Al-Ahli.

“Given the circumstances we should have won the match,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “So, yes, this draw feels like a defeat. We started losing track of what we were doing 15 minutes from the end, and I don’t know why. Perhaps it was a lack of concentration.”

Lyon has not won away in the league since beating leader Monaco 3-1 in December and dropped more points in its quest to catch third-placed Nice.

Lyon is 16 points behind Nice.

“Given what we showed today, we don’t deserve to be on the podium (in the top three),” Genesio said. “I’m irritated, for want of a better word.”


Burkina Faso striker Prejuce Nakoulma scored both goals as Nantes beat Angers 2-1 to move up to ninth place.

Striker Andy Delort got his fourth goal since joining from Mexican club Tigres in January as Toulouse won 1-0 at Montpellier to go 10th.

Cameroon striker Benjamin Moukandjo’s 10th league goal of the season helped Lorient beat Caen 1-0 as it bids to avoid relegation. Lorient is 19th but only one point behind 17th-placed Dijon.

Paris Saint-Germain beat Monaco 4-1 in the League Cup final on Saturday.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger scores in his MLS debut, Chicago Fire ties Montreal Impact 2-2

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored on his debut for Chicago Fire. (Source: AP) Bastian Schweinsteiger scored on his debut for Chicago Fire. (Source: AP)

Bastian Schweinsteiger capped his MLS debut with a brilliantly taken first-half goal to help the Chicago Fire snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw with Montreal Impact on Saturday.

A World Cup winner with Germany, Schweinsteiger could hardly have made a better start for his new team after leaving Manchester United, where he had spent most of his time on the bench.

The 32-year-old put his name on the scorer’s list after just 17 minutes, climbing above the defense to connect with David Accam’s corner and head the ball into the net to give his side the early lead.

“I was not nervous, but I was looking forward to play football,” said Schweinsteiger, who played the full 90 minutes.

“Perfect cross from David and the header. It was a good feeling at first, but I’m a little bit sad and not so happy that we couldn’t win the game.”

Matteo Mancosu equalized for Montreal in the 61st minute then Chicago found themselves a man down after 71 minutes when Juninho was shown a second yellow card.

Montreal’s Víctor Cabrera was also sent off, in the 80th minute, to make it 10 on 10 and the visitors looked to have pinched the win when Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla struck in the 90th minute.

But three minutes into stoppage time, Chicago scored again through Luis Solignac to earn a deserved share of the points.

“A debut with a goal is always something that we all dream of,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said about Schweinsteiger. “You know, starting and opening the game how we did with his goal, I think it was an important thing for our team.”

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Miguel Britos nets first Watford goal to deepen Sunderland woes

Miguel Britos scored for Watford against Sunderland. (Source: Reuters) Miguel Britos scored for Watford against Sunderland. (Source: Reuters)

Uruguayan defender Miguel Britos scored his first goal for Watford to secure a deserved 1-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland at Vicarage Road on Saturday and deepen the visitors’ relegation woes.

The result left bottom side Sunderland with 20 points from 29 matches, seven adrift of safety, while Watford moved up to 10th with 34 points.

The home side were ahead on 59 minutes when Britos headed home at the back post. Stefano Okaka had headed a corner goalwards, but Sunderland’s Fabio Borini deflected it on to the crossbar, only for Craig Cathcart to send the rebound to the back post where Britos rose above Jack Rodwell to score.

Substitute Isaac Success had an opportunity to make it 2-0 for the home side when he raced clear, but visiting goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a fine save.

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PSG beat Monaco to win League Cup, closer to defending treble

Edinson Cavani has now scored 40 goals this season for PSG. (Source: Reuters) Edinson Cavani has now scored 40 goals this season for PSG. (Source: Reuters)

Paris Saint-Germain took the first step toward defending its domestic treble by crushing its biggest rival Monaco 4-1 in the League Cup final on Saturday, with striker Edinson Cavani scoring twice to take his season’s tally to a career best 40.

PSG and Monaco are battling for the French title, with Monaco leading PSG by three points, and are involved in the French Cup. PSG lost and drew to Monaco in the league this season, but this emphatic win will give PSG momentum as it seeks to catch Monaco in the league.

“I’m happy for the trophy and for the fact we showed a rival (Monaco) that we could play well. It’s good for our motivation and our confidence,” PSG coach Unai Emery said. “If Monaco gives us the chance to close the gap, we will be ready. We’ll try and win every game.”

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi defended Emery after PSG’s shocking 6-1 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League three weeks ago, an embarrassing record defeat that sent the club spiraling out of the last 16 after winning the first leg 4-0. Al-Khelaifi, who was so upset at the time, was in upbeat mood after the Monaco game.

“We showed our true face today. We have great players, a great club, a great coach,” he said. “To win against Monaco is really special, and good for our minds. Now we have a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”

Monaco has been one of Europe’s best attacking teams, scoring a whopping 130 goals in all competitions, but this time poor defending allowed PSG to dictate a one-sided final.

“Every competition is different. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to play as well in the league because we lost this game,” Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. “It’s a good experience for a lot of our players, who had never played in a final.”

Cavani, who has considerable experience of playing in big games, was quick to praise his teammates. “We played with humility, consistency and a sense of sacrifice,” the Uruguay striker said.

He volleyed in PSG’s third goal after an exquisite pass from midfielder Marco Verratti to beat his previous best of 38 with Napoli in the 2012-13 season – just before he joined PSG for a French transfer record of 64 million euros ($68 million). He hit a clinical half-volley in the last minute from Angel Di Maria’s superb cross from the left.

Cavani also missed an open goal and had a first-half chance brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, but the striker has largely carried PSG with his goals and he has excelled since Zlatan Ibrahimovic left for Manchester United.

Winger Julian Draxler opened the scoring for PSG in the fourth minute, collecting an unselfish pass from Di Maria for an easy tap in, and returned the favor when he set up Di Maria to make it 2-1 just before halftime.

Attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar gave Monaco hope when he scored the goal of the game in the 27th, a brilliant curling shot from the edge of the area that wrong-footed goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

Monaco was missing top scorer Radamel Falcao through injury and key midfielder Fabinho through suspension. Fabinho’s absence was more keenly felt.

“We really weren’t expecting this,” Monaco midfielder Nabil Dirar said. “Perhaps we showed them too much respect, we let them play, they gained in confidence and we paid the price. “

Marseille 1-1 Dijon

France playmaker Dimitri Payet scored with a superb curling free kick as Marseille salvaged a home draw. After midfielder Gregory Certic’s own goal gave Dijon the lead in first-half injury time, Payet replied three minutes after the break. Some 30 meters from goal, Payet whipped a shot into the left corner with hardly any run up.

Bastia 0-1 Lille

Bastia moved closer to the second division while Lille moved further away from the relegation zone, climbing up to 13th place.

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2011 World Cup loss to India hurt but it’s in the past now, says Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene scored a century against India in the final. (Source: File) Mahela Jayawardene scored a century against India in the final. (Source: File)

It was six years ago that Sri Lanka led by Kumar Sangakkara lost to Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India in the ICC World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium here and the game’s lone centurion Mahela Jayawardene said that the defeat hurt at that time.

“I did not even remember it until I opened my Twitter account this morning. To be part of a World Cup final is always brilliant and to walk out at the Wankhede with 50,000 people screaming gives good memories,” said Jayawardene, who is now Mumbai Indians’ coach in IPL10.

“India was the better team on that day but it was six years ago and it’s in the past. A lot of things hurts in life. I have lost four (ICC tournament) finals out of five. We learn from every mishap that happens and move on with life. It hurt at that point, but after that it’s just another game,” said the stylish batsman who scored a magnificent 103 not out for a losing cause in that memorable summit clash.

Sri Lanka rode on his century to pile on an imposing 274 for six, but Dhoni led from the front with a brilliant, unbeaten 91 to guide India past the finish line to trigger wild celebrations across the length and breadth of the country on April 2, 2011.

Looking forward to his first stint at a major tournament as the head coach, Jayawardene said that MI would miss the services of a few players for the season opener against Rising Pune Supergiant in the away game on April 6.

“Mitch (Johnson) has played in the Big Bash (League) and Lasith (Malinga) is coming off after injury. We wanted him to play as much before coming here. He’s playing two T20s (Internationals against Bangladesh) which is good.”

“We play our first eight games in 16 or 18 days, which includes travelling and the experience factor does count. They have played enough cricket and preparation-wise they will be fine. We need to make sure we manage everyone (vis a vis work load) properly.”

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Revived Leicester City write winning record for Criag Shakespeare

Jamie Vardy scored one of the two goals for Leicester City against Stoke City. (Source: Reuters) Jamie Vardy scored one of the two goals for Leicester City against Stoke City. (Source: Reuters)

Leicester’s revival continued under manager Craig Shakespeare as Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy handed the Foxes a 2-0 victory over Stoke in the English Premier League on Saturday.

It was Leicester’s fifth straight win in all competitions since Claudio Ranieri was fired and meant Shakespeare became the first English manager to win his first four league games.

He joined Guus Hiddink, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and Carlo Ancelotti in having a 100 percent record after four games.

Shakespeare has guided last season’s shock champions six points clear of the relegation zone and into the Champions League quarterfinals.

Stoke remained ninth, just three points ahead of Leicester.

Leicester got the goal its early domination deserved after 25 minutes with Ndidi’s first league strike.

The midfielder collected Danny Simpson’s simple pass before advancing and unleashing an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the top corner.

Leicester extinguished any hopes of a second-half Stoke revival 76 seconds after the restart.

Simpson collected his second assist of the afternoon, swinging in a deep cross which Vardy met with a clinical volley.

It was the striker’s fifth goal in his last six club games. Vardy has been revitalised since the exit of former manager Claudio Ranieri in February.

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IPL: Which batsman has the wood on whom


IPL: Which batsman has the wood on whom

Deepu Narayanan • Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 09:52 PM

David Warner has seven fifties in as many matches against RCB. © BCCI

In the 2014 IPL auction, Chennai Super Kings’ aggressive bid for opener Dwayne Smith raised a few eyebrows. They were not the team known to tinker their core group and going for Smith despite having Brendon McCullum and Faf du Plessis in their ranks was surprising, to say the least. Coach Stephen Fleming later confessed that the reason for it was Smith’s stellar record against the franchise – every time Smith batted against CSK he played some extraordinary innings which hit them very hard.

Here, in a two-part series, we take a look at a few such instances of a batsman taking a liking to a particular opposition.

David Warner for SRH vs RCB – Seven fifties in as many matches

David Warner’s exploits against Royal Challengers Bangalore is of two halves. In his first six matches against them, all for Delhi Daredevils, he scored just 107 runs at 17.83. But ever since donning the SunRisers Hyderabad jersey, he has been a different monster altogether against the familiar foes. His scores in the last seven innings read 61, 59, 57, 52 not out, 58, 92 and 69. No other player has scored more than four consecutive fifties against any team in the history of IPL. He has also hit an unbeaten 122 against them for New South Wales in the now defunct Champions League.

Warner vs RCB:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 13 555 46.25 162.28 7 92 3

Chris Gayle vs KXIP – 797 runs in 15 matches

No one in the history of IPL has scored more runs against a particular opposition than Chris Gayle against the Kings XI. Gayle’s love affair with KXIP started from his second appearance, for Kolkata Knight Riders then, scoring a 26-ball unbeaten 44 in a rain-affected encounter. He scored his first hundred against them, for Royal Challengers, in May 2011 and scored another one exactly the same day four years later. His eight scores of fifty or more against them is also a tournament record.

Gayle vs KXIP:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 15 797 56.92 175.55 8 117 4

Chris Gayle vs KKR – Four Man of the Match awards in 11 games

Gayle arrived on the scene in Royal Challengers’ gold and yellow for the first time against his former employers Kolkata Knight Riders, mid-season in 2011. He smashed an unbeaten 55-ball 102 and unleashed a different monster altogether. Gayle averaged 30 with a strike rate of 140 till then and since then, those numbers have risen to 43 and 153 respectively. He tormented Knight Riders, especially in their den at the Eden Gardens, as the following scores suggest – 102 (55), 86 (58), 96 (56) and 49 (31).

Gayle vs KKR:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 11 525 58.33 158.61 4 102* 4

Suresh Raina vs MI – Four fifties in knockout games

No other team has rubbed shoulders as often as Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in the short history of IPL and it was Suresh Raina who helped the former to put their noses ahead in the crunch contests. He scored an unbeaten 35-ball 57 in the final of 2010 season to infuse momentum into the innings and was the only fifty in the summit clash, earning him Man of the Match award. Three years later he scored an unbeaten 82 off just 42 balls in the Qualifiers which booked his team a berth in the final. The following year he scored a 33-ball 54, unbeaten again, in the Eliminator thereby ending Mumbai’s campaign. Last year he scored a 36-ball 58 for Gujarat Lions, once again to terminate Mumbai’s journey for the season.

Raina vs MI:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 24 679 35.73 148.90 6 83* 4

Rohit Sharma vs KKR – The love for Eden

Rohit Sharma has always been a thorn in the flesh for the Knight Riders. Much before his love affair with the Eden Gardens commenced, he smashed 26 off a Mashrafe Mortaza over at the Wanderers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat much to the dismay of the Knight Riders who were in the middle of their worst run. His only IPL hundred came at the Eden on a difficult track against an attack comprising of Sunil Narine, Brett Lee and Shakib Al Hasan among others. His last five innings against them read – 51, 98 not out, 30, 84 not out and 68.

Rohit vs KKR:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 18 655 54.58 140.55 5 109* 4

Virat Kohli vs SRH – Seven 40+ scores in nine innings

This is a nascent rivalry, with SunRisers having started playing IPL only since 2013. Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 47-ball 93 where the rest of the team only managed 62 runs off 59 balls as they made light work of a daunting chase in Bengaluru in 2013. Later in 2015, he smashed a 19-ball 44 to chase down 81 runs in six overs in a rain-curtailed game to ensure SunRisers’ exit from the competition. He kicked off his brilliant run in 2016 with 75 against the familiar foes and ended with another half-century in the final.

Kohli vs SRH:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 9 434 62.00 146.62 4 93* 2

Ajinkya Rahane vs DD – An impressive average of 77.75

Ajinkya Rahane’s run against Delhi Daredevils has been more steady than spectacular. He was only 20 years old when he scored 56 in a losing cause in the 2009 edition in South Africa. He played another superb knock – an unbeaten 84 off 63 – in 2012 against Daredevils as his side lost by one run. This remains the highest unbeaten score by an opener in an IPL run-chase in a losing cause. He has reached double figures in all his matches against them and his team has remained unbeaten in the last eight encounters against Daredevils. He has scored 622 runs against them with six fifties and highest of an unbeaten 91.

Rahane vs DD:

Inngs Runs Avg SR 50+ scores Highest MoM 13 622 77.75 132.05 6 91* 4

© Cricbuzz




Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi wants manager Arsene Wenger to stay

Alex Iwobi has scored four goals in 35 appearances this season. (Source: Reuters) Alex Iwobi has scored four goals in 35 appearances this season. (Source: Reuters)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been receiving unjust criticism and should extend his 20-year reign at the club, midfielder Alex Iwobi has said.

Wenger, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is under increasing pressure to step down due to the club’s poor form of six losses in their last nine games, and a 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Iwobi, who has scored four goals in 35 appearances this season, defended Wenger, saying the manager’s achievements at the club should not be dwarfed by Arsenal’s current struggles.

“He’s a great man in my opinion, I’d like him to stay,” Iwobi told BBC’s World Football Programme.

“I don’t think it’s fair… considering what he’s done. He’s always achieved fourth place, been in the Champions League and been up there with the title contenders.”

Striker Alexis Sanchez and playmaker Mesut Ozil, whose contracts run out at the end of next season, are stalling on signing new deals, according to British media, and have been strongly linked with moves away from Arsenal.

Iwobi, however, remains optimistic the key duo will extend their contracts with the club.

“As you can see from stats, goals and chances they create, they are key players in our team… They are world-class players,” Iwobi said.

“For the club it would be great for them to stay, but at the end of the day, it’s their decision.”

Arsenal, who are sixth in the table, host third-placed Manchester City on Sunday.

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Sunil Chhetri joins Cristinao Ronaldo, Lionel Messi in top goal scorers’ list

Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal against Myanmar. (Source: AP) Sunil Chhetri scored the only goal against Myanmar. (Source: AP)

There is much talk about how Sunil Chhetri guided India to a win over Myanmar in the Asian Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. His 90th minute goal against Myanmar was sublime. It was a magical as he found back of the net in the last minute to stun the home crowd. The move was initiated by Chhetri, who passed it to Udanta, India’s substitute. Udanta ran in the right-wing, beating Myanmar defenders and continuing his run. Chhetri ran in from the middle and received a prefect pass from Udanta at the edge of the box. He put his right foot to it and hit it straight into the net. The win also broke India’s jinx in Myanmar. It was their first win in the country in 64 years.

But, there was another important feat that he achieved on Tuesday. After scoring his 53rd goal, Chhetri became the joint fourth highest goal scorer for their national sides among active players. With 53 goals, Chhetri is equal with Wayne Rooney of England.

The list of highest goal scorers among active players for their country is led by Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, followed by Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Clint Dempsey of USA is number three in the list. Rooney and Chhetri are joint number four.

Ronaldo has scored 78 goals for Portugal in his international career while Messi has only 58 for Argentina. Dempsey has 56 goals, which is only three more than Chhetri’s tally.

India next play Kyrgyzstan at home on June 13. Macau are the fourth side in Group A and the two top teams will qualify for the final round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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