Adding another feather to his cup, Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri has eclipsed Argentina's superstar Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goal-scorer with 74 goal.
With his brace against Bangladesh in the combined preliminary qualifying round encounter for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup on Monday night, the 36-year-old Chhetri secured the incredible achievement.
The seasoned striker, who contributed to India to win its first World Cup qualifier in six years, is now second only to Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (103) in terms of the current international goal scorers list.
Chhetri is two goals ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi and a position ahead of Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates, who is third on the list with 73 goals.
Last week, Messi scored his 72nd international goal against Chile in a World Cup qualifier, while Mabkhout added to his total against Malaysia.
Chhetri broke the deadlock in the 79th minute at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, heading in Ashique Kuruniyan's cross from the left, and then clinched the victory in additional time by curling in a long-range goal reported The New Indian Express.
India's captain is also one goal away from joining the league of the top 100 of all-time in world football.
Sandor Kocsis of Hungary, Kunishige Kamamoto of Japan, and Bashar Abdullah of Kuwait all have 75 goals.
Praful Patel, head of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), praised Chhetri for leading from the front, praising the captain's performance.
"Our @IndianFootball skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals.
"A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future," Patel tweeted.
The AIFF president also congratulated the squad on their emphatic victory, which was largely due to Chhetri's skill.
India won for the first time in a long time thanks to Chhetri's double goals in what was turning out to be a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign.
In addition, it was India's first win in World Cup qualifiers away from home in 20 years. India climbed to third place in Group E with six points from seven games after the victory.
On June 15, India will compete in the qualifications against Afghanistan.
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