India earned a hard fought 2-0 win over Nepal in an international friendly match at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Tuesday.
Goals from Sandeep Jhingan and Jeje Lalpekhula sealed the match for India. Jhingan broke the deadlock in the 60th minute followed by a clinical finish from Jeje in the 77th minute which allowed India win a match which saw them miss quite a few scoring chances.
Placed 69 spots below 100th ranked India, Nepal gave the hosts an extremely tough time throughout the game.
The hosts had the better start and dominated the first half. Even though the Nepal defence did commit the occasional error, poor finishing ensured that the Indians were unable to take the lead in the first half.
Though India showed appreciable fluidity in midfield and were equally solid in defence, their were decidedly below par in the final third.
Nepal had the best chance of the opening session around a minute before the break when Nawayug Shreshta beat three Indian defenders just outside the penalty box.
Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made an incredible blunder by deciding to leave his line and come out to the edge of the box in an effort to stop the Nepal forward. But he mistimed his tackle which allowed Shreshta the space to have a shot at an open goal.
However, the sizeable home crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Nepali fired wide.
India were forced to make a substitution in the first half due to defensive midfielder Rowllin Boges's head injury who was replaced by Eugenson Lyngdoh.
India took the lead when a free-kick was blocked by the Nepal defenders. Jhingan chested down the rebound just inside the penalty box, played a one-two with an India forward before firing a left-footer into the roof of the net.
Adding to Nepal's woes, defender Biraj Maharjan was red-carded in the 67th minute allowing India a free-kick from the edge of the box.
The one-man advantage allowed the Indians to take a firmer grip on the proceedings and Jeje made the issue safe when the doubled the lead with an excellent finish off a pass by Mohammed Rafique.