It was a day for legendary India captains on the sporting field on Sunday. While former India captain MS Dhoni was at his vintage best while playing for Chennai Super Kings during the run-chase against the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 Qualifier 1, Blue Tigers skipper Sunil Chhetri scored his record-equaling 77th goal in the match against Nepal to save his side from the verge of elimination in the SAFF Championships.
The 37-year-old footballer, who was representing the national team for the 123rd time on Sunday, netted a late goal and is now at par on the number of goals (77) with the Brazilian legend Pele who had netted 77 goals in 92 matches. The India star is the joint third with Ali Mabkhour from UAE (77) in the list of highest international goal scorers among active footballers.
The only two footballers ahead of him on this list are Cristiano Ronaldo (112) and Lionel Messi (96).
Here is a video of Chhetri's goal in the match on Sunday:
While Chhetri had missed a couple of chances earlier, when substitute Farukh Chaudhary won a header from a long throw-in, he was quick to pass it towards the six-yard box where forward Chhetri was at the right place for the perfect finish. Chhetri did not disappoint and hurled it past the Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Limbu in the 82nd minute.
The seven-time champions India as a result of that win are now at third place with five points from three matches in the five-team points table. Maldives with six points from three matches and Nepal with six points from three matches are ahead of the Indian team.
For the Indian dreams to stay alive, the Blue Tigers will need to find a way to get the three points in the final round-robin league match on Wednesday against Maldives. This is because only a win would help them enter the top two and play the final on October 16.