The India vs. Nepal quarter-final for the SAFF Championships at the Thiruvananthapuram stadium on the 27th of December 2015 will be one match that Lallianzuala Chhangte will never forget for the rest of his life. The 18 year old Mizo footballer made his debut for India on the 25th of December and in just his second match created history by scoring twice and in doing so became the youngest goal-scorer for India.
India went in as the favourites but had a very different line-up from the one that defeated Sri Lankan as Robin Singh was not in the starting line-up and JeJe was also seen in the dug-out. Reports suggested that Robin Singh was recovering from a knee injury while Holicharan Narzary was preferred ahead of JeJe.
Nepal struck first in this crucial encounter and immediately put the Indians under pressure. Indian coach Stephen Constantine who made five changes to his squad backed his players and they rewarded his confidence in good style. India went on to put the back at the back of the net on four different occasions as Sunil Chhetri, Rowlin Borges and Chhangte showed their class and helped India secure a place in the semi-final. Chhangte who scored twice now holds the record for the youngest goal-scorer, a record that he has taken from former Indian captain Baichung Bhutia.
Chhangte scored his first goal in the 81st minute and would end up scoring his second goal in the final minutes of the match. He not only holds the record for being the youngest scorer for India but is also the youngest player to have represented the country. The youngster has been making headlines in the domestic circuit as he has built a reputation for himself by being known as an opportunistic striker who has had a good season for DSK Shivajians, a domestic club based in the city of Pune. He has also been a part of the AIFF team during the 2015 FAM-FRENZ Asia U-18 Champions Trophy and has also represented the Indian under 19 team during the 2016 AFC Championship qualification.
The winners of the Afghanistan vs. Maldives match will take on India during the semi-final of the SAFF tournament which is expected to take place on New Year’s eve. It will be difficult for coach Stephen Constantine to drop the 18 year old sensation after his fantastic performance but if Robin Singh recovers, then Chhangte might be used as a substitute.