Social Buzz: India raises a toast to Blue Tigers’ historic win in AFC Asian Cup
The Blue Tigers kickstarted their AFC Asian Cup 2019 campaign with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Thailand and announced their arrival in Asia's biggest football competition in style. After Teerasil Dangda cancelled out Sunil Chhetri’s first-half penalty, the Blue Tigers went all out in the second-half and scored three in the final 45 minutes through Chhetri, Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
The result was a historic event in Indian football for multiple reasons. To begin with, it was the Blue Tigers' first victory in the AFC Asian Cup since 1964 and on top of that, the match also saw Chhetri overtake the iconic Lionel Messi to become the second-highest scorer in international matches among active players. Only Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more. To top it all off, it also brought about the maiden international goal for Anirudh Thapa, who also happens to be the youngest member of India’s AFC Asian Cup squad.
The landmark result had the nation pulsating, as players, fans and pundits alike took to social media to raise a toast to the Indian team’s stunning performance.
India’s captain on the night, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, goal scorer Chhetri and ace defender Sandesh Jhingan took to Twitter after the match to reflect on an outstanding team effort.
Considering the bigger picture, this is a good but small start. But I'll talk about just this game - it was bloody brilliant to be a part of the way my team went about things. And it's even more special knowing we made a country happy, even if it is only for a day.🙏🙏— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) January 6, 2019
We didn’t come this far to just come this far we came to go further and be stronger. A big thank you to travelling @BluePilgrims and the people who supported us back home! #IndiaInUAE pic.twitter.com/JBEVZRABMT— Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (@GurpreetGK) January 6, 2019
Great passion determination and positive mentality shown by the lads tonight. Thank you to all who stood by us and supported us against all odds. Now time to recover well and go again on the 10th. #togetherletsmakehistory 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/d3snzI3Ijh— Sandesh Jhingan (@SandeshJhingan) January 6, 2019
Pundit and presenter Anant Tyagi took the opportunity to give fans some perspective on the importance of the historic victory.
India last won an @afcasiancup game in Jun 1964, last picked up a point in Dec 1984 & the last time we played a game in the 2011 edition of this competition, we were 3-1 down in 23 mins. This is incredible, monumental and yet only the beginning! #AsianDream #THAIND #BackTheBlue— Anant Tyagi (@anant174) January 6, 2019
Paul Masefield, who has closely witnessed the rise of Indian football over the past few years, hailed the performance in his trademark style.
WOW!— Paul Masefield (@masefield2110) January 6, 2019
A stunning 2nd half performance from @IndianFootball to beat Thailand in @afcasiancup 4 - 1.
Did I say beat, I meant batter!
Oldest and youngest player in the squad score and Jeje breaks his baron spell.
It couldn’t have gone any better for the boys 👏👏👏👏#BacktheBlue pic.twitter.com/08bcqMxqAq
President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Praful Patel congratulated the team on their well-deserved victory.
Congratulations @IndianFootball on the well-deserved victory against #Thailand in #AsianCup2019. It was a good quality win.— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) January 6, 2019
Well done boys!!#BackTheBlue #AsianDream #AsianCup #THAIND #AsianCuplive @afcasiancup
Kerala Blasters FC player CK Vineeth, who has played for India in the past, also left a special message for the team.
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, too, shared a special message commemorating the victory.
T 3050 - India beats Thailand in AFC Football tournament .. 4-1 .. apparently Indian teams first win in such a tournament since 1964 !! Congratulations Indian team & Sunil Chhetri .. its about time , and its time for INDIA !!🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🙏🙏🙏👏👏👏— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) January 6, 2019
Various fan groups and fans weren't far behind, as they celebrated the team's special victory with passion and pride.
Admin passed out. I am the nurse. . Kindly adjust. pic.twitter.com/hmZ6z89LqO— West Block Blues (@WestBlockBlues) January 6, 2019
Sunil Chhetri is the Kapil Dev of Indian football. What a player. Gutted that I couldn't watch the game. But watching every possible highlights video. Can't wait for the next game. I ain't missing that #THAIND #IndianFootball #AsianCup2019— Martin Joseph P (@martin_josephp) January 7, 2019
Many congratulations to the other Men in Blue, our national Football team, who commenced their #AFCAsianCup2019 in resounding fashion, blunting Thailand 4 - 1. What a performance, onwards and upwards. :) #IndianFootball #THAIND @chetrisunil11— Karan Jaidka (@karanjaidka) January 7, 2019
You know how much this victory means when former Indian internationals are so elated by it.— Sriram Madhavan (@sriram_madhavan) January 7, 2019
I saw that last night when @vijayan04 was in the commentary box! The happiness was unmatched
What a win! Indian football continues to rise! #THAvIND #THAIND @IndianFootball #AFCAsianCup https://t.co/VyVwvsxoul
Read the full match report here.