India end Barcelona sojourn with a win
New Delhi: Fit-again striker Sunil Chhetri converted a penalty as India wound up their Barcelona training tour on a winning note by beating Spanish third division side FC Santboia by a solitary goal in their fourth and final friendly game.
Chhetri scored from the spot in the 17th minute after his strike partner and captain Bhaichung Bhutia was brought down by a Santboia defender inside the danger area, and India maintained the lead till the end at Centre of High Performance Sports at the outskirts of Barcelona last night.
Bhutia played for the full 90 minutes as coach Bob Houghton made only one substitution in his starting line-up -- that of Chhetri, who has just recovered from a right ankle injury, by Sushil Singh in the 58th minute.
The early goal gave the Indians the boost to go for the offensive and Anthony Pereira could have made it 2-0 in the 26th minute but the Indian left winger shot wide with only goalkeeper to beat.
The Spanish opponents, however, pressed hard for the equaliser and they had a couple of attempts on target in the first session but each time Subrata Pal came up with good saves under the Indian bar.
After the breather, Santboia changed almost all the starting lineup but India dominated the second session. Both sides could not create any clear chances though India made attempts from set pieces.
Bhutia had a couple of attempts at the Santboia goal but without success.
The win means India remained unbeaten in their month-long sojourn at FC Barcelona. They won two games and drew two, all against Spanish third division sides.
The Indian team reaches here tomorrow and they will disperse for home on Saturday. They will have a camp at Gurgaon from August 12 till the Nehru Cup begins at Ambedkar Stadium here on August 19.
India Line-up: Subrata Pal, Surkumar Singh, Anwar, Gouramangi Singh, NS Manju, Steven Dias, Climax Lawrence, NP Pradeep, Anthony Pereira, Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chetri (Sushil Singh, 58th).
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