Chhetri Nears Messi’s Record in Milestone Match

Chhetri Nears Messi's Record in Milestone Match

Celebrating his 150th international appearance, the helmsman of the Indian football squadron, Sunil Chhetri, neared Lionel Messi’s tally by netting a penalty in the initial moiety, clinching a 1-0 lead for India over Afghanistan in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Preliminaries.

Chhetri Nears Messi’s Record with Milestone Goal

In a significant FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri scored during his landmark 150th international match against Afghanistan, inching closer to Lionel Messi’s tally. The goal, resulting from a penalty due to Haroon Amiri’s handball, highlighted Chhetri’s remarkable consistency, marking his 94th goal. Celebrating goals in each milestone match from his 1st to 150th, Chhetri’s latest achievement underlines his critical role in Indian football and his reflective journey on his illustrious career.

Journey to a Milestone in Indian Football

Sunil Chhetri reflected on his unexpected journey to becoming a national football icon, expressing surprise at his own achievements. Despite never imagining himself representing India, Chhetri recently realized he was about to set a record. He described this milestone of playing 150 games for the country as an “unbelievable feat” and expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity. Recalling his early days playing in the Subroto Cup in Delhi, Chhetri emphasized how distant the dream of playing for India seemed at the time.

Chhetri Reflects on Unforgettable Challenges in International Football

Sunil Chhetri opened up about the transient nature of statistical awareness among players, emphasizing that such numbers fade from consciousness at the game’s outset. Reflecting on his international career’s pivotal moments, he highlighted a particularly disheartening performance during the AFC Challenge Cup, following the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. This match against Myanmar stood out not only for the team’s unexpected defeat but also for its significant consequences, marking a missed opportunity for qualification in the 2015 Asian Cup. Chhetri characterized this game as one of his most challenging experiences, underlining the heavy weight of lost potential rather than the difficulty posed by the opposition.

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About the Author

Born in Liverpool in 1984, Ian Fletcher, a distinguished betting expert, attained a Master’s in Sports Analytics from the University of Manchester in 2010. Between 2011 and 2019, he was engaged with various English football clubs, focusing on tactical analysis and player performance metrics. Fletcher has contributed to 12 academic papers, emphasizing the role of game tempo and set-piece efficiency. In 2020, he transitioned into the realm of journalism. Presently, Fletcher authors in-depth analytical pieces on football, exploring game dynamics and team strategies, and his expertise is sought after by numerous sports platforms.

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