The Indian Men’s Football Team captain Sunil Chhetri on Wednesday turned to social media to express his gratitude to the people of Kolkata, who flocked in large numbers to watch the Blue Tigers play in the AFC Asian Cup qualifier games. Chhetri said he and his entire squad believe that the fans at Salt Lake Stadium played a significant role in all of the victories. Chhetri also sent out a Bengali-language greeting to all of Kolkata’s supporters, wishing them well until the next time.
“Dear Kolkata, just how special were you? The entire team and I are convinced that all of you at the Salt Lake, had a big part in all three of our wins. I hope we made you smile. These days with you were memorable. Let’s have a rendezvous soon. Until then, shobai bhalo thakben,” Chhetri wrote on Twitter.
Dear Kolkata, just how special were you? The entire team and I are convinced that all of you at the Salt Lake, had a big part in all three of our wins. I hope we made you smile. These days with you were memorable. Let’s have a rendezvous soon. Until then, shobai bhalo thakben. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/JlJ7k32uRL
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) June 15, 2022
India played all of their AFC Asian Cup Group D qualifying matches at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. India beat Cambodia 2-0 in their first match on June 8 before registering a victory against Afghanistan two days later. India defeated Afghanistan 2-1 courtesy of goals from Chhetri and Sahal Samad. India then beat Hong Kong 4-0 in their final qualifying match on June 14. Thanks to the amazing performances, India for the first time in their history qualified for the Asian Cup in two consecutive editions.
Finding the back of the net four times, Chhetri concluded the qualification campaign as the top goal scorer for his team, having scored in all three matches. Chhetri scored a brace against Cambodia and one goal in each of the other two games. After scoring a goal in the 44th minute of the final match versus Hong Kong, Chhetri equaled the record of Hungarian striker Ferenc Puskas as the fifth highest goalscorer in international football.
India at AFC Asian Cup
India have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for the fifth time in their history. India competed in the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 1964, where the Blue Tigers had their best-ever showing by finishing as the runners-up. India came in second place after losing to Israel in the summit match. The next three times India competed were in 1984, 2011, and 2019. India finished last in their group, which included the UAE, Thailand, and Bahrain, and thus failed to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2019 edition of the marquee tournament.