AFC Asian Cup 2019: Sunil Chhetri overtakes Lionel Messi in international goals among active players

Sunil Chhetri brace helped India beat Thailand 4-1. (Twitter/IndianFootball)

India kicked-off their Asian Cup campaign on a positive note as the Blue Tigers registered a thumping 4-1 victory over Thailand. Center-forward Sunil Chhetri was in prolific form and gave India the lead in the 27th minute of the match after successfully converting from the penalty spot. The talismanic striker then found the back of the net for the second time on the night with a superb finish from outside the box. While on one hand, the Indian skipper helped his country get off to a flying start in the group stage, on the other hand, he etched his name in record books.

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*Sunil Chhetri scored his 66th goal for India to overtake Lionel Messi to become the active player with the second most international goals. His tally currently stands at 67.

*Cristiano Ronaldo is the leading goalscorer with 85 goals, while Argentina legend Lionel Messi is third with 65 goals.

*Sunil Chhetri is the first Indian player to score more than one goal in the same Asian cup match.

*With two goals on Sunday he also becomes highest Indian goalscorer in Asian Cup history.

*With 105 international matches so far, Chhetri is also two shy of his 'mentor' Bhaichung Bhutia who had represented the nation for a record 107 times.

*With this win, India registered their first victory in the tournament in 55 years.

*India are ranked 97th in the FIFA charts while opponents Thailand are 118th.

*This is also India’s highest margin of victory in an Asian Cup match, eclipsing the 3-1 win over Hong Kong in June 1964.

*This is also most number of goals India have ever scored in an Asian Cup match.

*This is the first time since 31st July 1986 that India beat Thailand.

*In Sunday’s match, Thailand were the better side in the first half with an overwhelming 70 percent possession and more shots on target.