India beat Bangladesh as Sunil Chhetri surpasses Lionel Messi's tally
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has gone past the legendary Lionel Messi in terms of international goals. Chhetri netted a brace for the Blue Tigers in their 2-0 win over Bangladesh in the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. India occupy third place after registering their first win in the qualifying event. Chhetri was instrumental for India with two late goals. Here's more.
Chhetri is now the second-highest goal scorer among active footballers. The Indian skipper has 74 international goals under his belt, having played 117 matches. He is only behind Cristiano Rolando, who has netted 103 goals for Portugal. Notably, Chhetri steered clear of Argentina's Lionel Messi, who has scored 72 goals.
Chhetri is currently 11th in terms of international goals scored. Two more goals will see him rise to eighth with four players having scored 75 goals apiece. Chhetri needs four goals at the moment to get past legendary icon Pele. Pele had netted 77 goals for Brazil. Chhetri needs six goals to become only the fifth player with a tally of 80-plus.
Veteran Indian forward Chhetri scored his first in the 79th minute. Second-half substitute Ashique Kuruniyan delivered a cross from the left for Chhetri, after a long run, and from a tight angle. Chhetri headed in brilliantly from behind Topu Barman at the Al Sadd Stadium. In the 92nd minute, Chhetri got his second after receiving the ball from Suresh Singh from the right flank.
India are out of the race in terms of reaching the next round of WC Qualifiers. However, if India can finish third, they will qualify directly for the third round of the Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers. India need to beat Afghanistan in their final match to earn a direct spot. Afghanistan have a match against Oman on June 11 before they face India.