BURIRAM (THAILAND), June 5: Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri struck in his milestone match but India lost 1-3 to higher-ranked Curacao in their opening tie of the King�s Cup football tournament in Igor Stimac�s first game in charge here on Wednesday.
Chhetri became the most capped India player by surpassing Bhaichung Bhutia�s 107 international matches and he scored the lone goal for his side in the 31st minute from a spot kick for his 69th goal, though it did not make any difference to the result of the match. The 82nd ranked Caribbean island nation, which has two players plying trade in English Premier League and some others in European leagues, scored three in the space of 18 minutes � through Roly Bonevacia (16th), Elson Hooi (18th) and Leandro Bacuna (33rd).
A sloppy first half in which India � ranked 101 � defended and attacked poorly, saw the team trailing 1-3 at the breather. The new defensive set up � with Rahul Bheke coming in as central defender � was looking out of sorts with lack of anticipation and communication. India played a vastly improved football in the second 45 minutes � which was played mostly under rain � but could not score another goal. � PTI