Sunil Chhetri confirmed soon after at the post-match press conference: “I think it was quite evident, my wife (Sonam Bhattacharya) and I, we are pregnant. We just wanted to share the happiness with everyone; to get all the good wishes, love, care and encouragement.”
The footballer, who scored his record 86th goal in national colours at the Kalinga Stadium, said June 11 was also their relationship anniversary and promised his wife that he will announce the expected new member of the family if he scores a goal on the day.
“We thought of many ways to announce it but in the end, we settled for the most common way of a footballer announcing it. I did take my wife’s permission and she agreed. Yesterday was 11 June, the first time we met, that’s why I promised her that if I score, we will announce the news of the pregnancy to the fans,” said the captain.
The goal didn’t come easy for the captain, let alone India, as Vanuatu were a stubborn defence on the day. The Oceanic side used their physicality to advantage and frustrated India with the deep-sitting defenders, who provided little space for the Indian forwards to work on.
Plenty of chances went begging for a number of players, including two free headers for the Indian captain on either side of the half. The goal moment arrived as late as the 81st minute when left-back Subhasish Bose made a deep run down the flank and got better of his marker before delivering a nice chip into the box for Sunil Chhetri to volley into the net with his weaker foot.