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India stun Thailand 4-1

Cricket-mad India stunned Thailand 4-1 at the Asian Cup last night, with striker Sunil Chhetri scoring twice in their Group A opener.

GROUP A
THAILAND INDIA
1 4
(Teerasil Dangda 34) (Sunil Chhetri 27-pen, 46, Anirudh Thapa 68, Jeje Lalpekhlua 81)

Watched by the 12 Thai schoolboys rescued from a flooded jungle cave last year after being trapped for more than two weeks, the War Elephants had little answer to India's brimming energy in Abu Dhabi.

Chhetri opened the scoring when he smashed home from the penalty spot after 27 minutes. The Blue Tigers were in front for just seven minutes, Thai captain Teerasil Dangda restoring parity by bravely heading home a Theerathon Bunmathan free-kick.

But Chhetri drilled his second of the game moments into the second half following a lung-bursting run down the right from Udanta Singh before Anirudh Thapa chipped in a third in the 68th minute.

Substitute Lalpekhlua Jeje completed the rout to leave India as unlikely group leaders over Bahrain and hosts UAE, who drew 1-1 earlier.

The top two teams in each of the six groups qualify for the knockout stage along with the four best third-placed teams. - AFP

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