Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri’s brace against Bangladesh in Doha, Qatar, on 7 June helped him etch his name in sport’s record book, going past Argentina and Barcelona’s talismanic striker Lionel Messi to become the second-highest international goalscorer in the world.
After suffering a loss at the hands of reigning AFC Asian Champions Qatar, Chhetri-led Blue Tigers bounced back to winning ways by crushing Bangladesh 2-0 in their Group E fixture of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium. In the process, Chhetri has eclipsed Messi and UAE star Ali Mabkhout to become the second-highest international goalscorer in the current list of active men footballers. Chhetri scored his 73rd and 74th international goals in India’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh.
With 74 international strikes to his name, Team India skipper Chhetri is only behind Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in the list of active international goalscorers. Ronaldo has 103 international goals under his belt and the Portugal captain is tipped to extend his incredible goal-tally in the 16th edition of the European Championship (UEFA Euro 2020), which begins on 11June.
Chhetri broke the deadlock in the 79th minute when he headed in Ashique Kuruniyan’s cross from the left. He then sealed the result by curling in a shot from long range in added time.
Starting the match on the bench, second-half substitute Ashique delivered a cross from the left for Chhetri, who, after a bursting run and from an acute angle, headed in brilliantly from behind Topu Barman, at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
It was that man Chhetri again as he rounded off his night with another fine strike in extra time (90+2) after receiving the ball from Suresh Singh from the right flank.