The talismanic Sunil Chhetri returned to motion with pleasant strike nevertheless it was not sufficient as India went down 1-2 to Indian Tremendous League aspect ATK Mohun Bagan in a observe match on the Salt Lake Stadium right here on Wednesday.
Returning to motion after a seven-month harm layoff, the 37-year-old India captain was in his aspect as he utilised a Glan Martins cross to present India an ideal begin.
However the Indian backline — minus star centre ahead Sandesh Jhingan and the reliable Pritam Kota who performed for ATK Mohun Bagan — crumbled quickly after with Liston Colaco and rising teen Kiyan Nassiri scoring a purpose every within the house of seven minutes.
It was a impolite actuality test for the Igor Stimac-coached aspect that begins as overwhelming favourites within the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.
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The margin of defeat may have been worse as ATKMB missed a flurry of probabilities with Colaco, David Williams and Kauko squandering simple alternatives.
Jhingan additionally returned to motion after sitting out ATKMB’s AFC Cup matches final month and performed for 10 minutes within the second-half earlier than pulling out after a suspected harm.
The small print of the harm are unknown and it stays to be seen whether or not he will probably be obtainable for ATKMB’s AFC Cup Group league opener towards Gokulam Kerala right here on Might 18.
In a keenly-contested match, the 106th ranked India dominated up entrance earlier than the Mariners seized the momentum with Colaco’s strike within the thirtieth minute.
Colaco then arrange the successful purpose for Nassiri within the thirty seventh minute.
Within the absence of an injured Rahim Ali, Chhetri began out with VP Suhair up entrance as Stimac additionally tried out the likes of Udanta Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Asish Rao, Akash Mishra, Jeakson Singh.
The Juan Ferrando-coached ATKMB additionally performed their fundamental staff gamers within the first-half earlier than giving probabilities to the juniors after the break.
It was India’s first of the 2 observe matches in build-up to subsequent month’s Asian Cup qualifiers.
The second match is towards ‘I-League All Stars’ which is scheduled to be performed on Might 17.
India subsequent fly to Doha to play two extra friendlies towards Zambia (Might 25) and Jordan (Might 28) earlier than they tackle Cambodia (June 8) right here on the Salt Lake Stadium.