Abu Dhabi, Jan 7 (Xinhua) India’s national football team defeated Thailand 4-1 here on Sunday to win their first AFC Asian Cup match in eight attempts.
The Blue Tigers’ captain and veteran striker Sunil Chhetri stole the show by scoring two goals to raise his international total to 67, taking him above Lionel Messi whose goal tally for Argentina stands at 65.
India had one draw and six defeats from their last seven Asian Cup games, but after their first win in the tournament since they were runners-up in 1964, they now sit top of Group A, which also contains Bahrain and hosts UAE.
Earlier on Sunday, defending champions Australia suffered a shock 1-0 defeat in Group B against a Jordan side ranked 68 places below them.
Under new coach Graham Arnold, the Socceroos enjoyed two convincing friendly wins on the eve of the tournament proper, but were frustrated by a well-drilled Jordan side for whom Anas Bani Yaseen scored the only goal of the game.
Sunday’s third match saw Group B’s other teams Syria and Palestine play out a 0-0 draw.
Run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and featuring 24 teams, the 17th edition of the quadrennial AFC Asian Cup is being held in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.
Saturday’s opening match between the UAE and Bahrain ended in a 1-1 draw.