A hat-trick of Nehru Cup titles for India

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New Delhi, Sept 2: India showed nerves of steel to overcome Cameroon 5-4 via penalty shootout and retain the Nehru Cup football tournament as coach Wim Koevermans' first assignment in the hot seat ended in glory, here.

A hat-trick of Nehru Cup titles for Ind

The match went into tie-breaker after the two teams were locked 2-2 at the end of 120 minutes of play at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. Gouramangi Singh (19th minute) and Sunil Chhetri (77th) scored for India in the regulation time, while Makkon Thierry (29th) and Kingue Mpondo (54th) found the net for Cameroon.

In the tiebreaker, Robin Singh, skipper Chhetri, Denzil Franco and Mehtab Hosain struck to ensure that India managed a clean slate. Taking the final shot, Makkon hit the post to leave Cameroon shattered, and the Indians jubilant. Ashu C Tambe, Ousmalia, Bebey Kingue Paul and Mpondo scored for the visitors in the shootout.

History repeated itself as the two-time champions, like in the last edition in 2009, defended the crown in shootout. Earlier India opened the match on the offensive, Sunil Chhetri hitting his right-footer straight to goalkeeper Ngome Lawrence. India's urgency prompted coach Koevermans to leave his chair in the dugout and shout instructions to his wards from the sidelines.

The Dutchman's words seemed to have motivated the Indians enough as Gouramangi Singh headed in a Clifford Miranda free-kick from the right in the 19th minute, beating what seemed like an offside trap, which left the vociferous Sunday turnout jubilant.


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