India’s captain fantastic Sunil Chhetri during the course of his match-winning brace against Bangladesh in the FIFA World Cup Qualifer against Bangladesh crossed Argentina’s Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals. Only Cristiano Ronaldo with 103 international goals is ahead of him.
The 36-year-old at the start of the match which served as a qualifier for AFC Asian Cup 2023 as well, was tied on 72 goals with the Argentine maestro. Messi scored his 72nd goal last week when converted from the spot against Chile in their 1-1 draw in the World Cup qualifiers. Chhetri surpassed Messi when he headed home from Ashique Kuruniyan’s pass on the 79th minute against Bangladesh.
With 73 goals, he was tied with UAE’s Ali Mabkhout who had recently scored against Malaysia last week. Team India captain overtook Mabkhout to become the second-highest active international goalscorer right at the death when he received a pass from Suresh Singh and comfortably placed it into the back of the net.
Chhetri is also now tied with legendary Indian forward IM Vijayan with four goals scored in India’s winning causes in the World Cup qualifiers.
AIFF President Praful Patel also congratulated Sunil Chhetri on achieving this feat. He took to Twitter and wrote, “Our Indian Football skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals. A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future.”
Up next for India is Afghanistan a week from today. India would need a win to finish third in Group E which would guarantee them a berth in the 2023 Asian Cup.