India smashed the back of the net on four occasions, as they thumped Thailand in their opening match of the AFC Asian Cup.

Sunil Chhetri fired in a brace, and goals from Anirudh Thapa and Jeje Lalpekhlua sealed a comfortable 4-1 win for India.

As Chhetri overtook Lionel Messi as the second-highest international goal scorer among current players, Twitter erupted with numerous hastags in praise of the prolific Indian football team skipper.

Two of the hashtags were #BackTheBlue and #THAvIND.


(Photo: SNS)


Chhetri, India’s number 11, took his international goal tally to 67, overtaking Lionel Messi’s record of 65 thus becoming the most mentioned player from the match on Twitter.

Aneesh Madani, Head of Sports Partnerships, Asia Pacific, Twitter, said, “Sunil Chhetri has been at the forefront of the conversation on Twitter when it comes to Indian football. His plea to fans in 2018, urging them to rally around the Indian football team, became the Golden Tweet of the year with 60K retweets.”

He said that Chhetri’s tweet apparently worked its magic as can be seen from the wave of support for him and his teammates whenever India take to the football field.

“Twitter is where football happens, and it has given fans a chance to connect with the beautiful game,” he added.



In a match that saw India dominate from start to end, the men in blue did face a slight hiccup.

After India took the lead early in the first half, Thailand managed to claw back with an equaliser in the 33rd minute.

Chhetri slotted home a fine finish to make it 2-1 to India when the team needed to restore the lead.


It was this goal that also featured among the most talked about moments from the match. The goal was just the start of a flurry of conversations on Twitter, with fans on the platform cheering-on goals from Thapa and Lalpekhlua.