India struck the winner in the injury time through striker Robin Singh in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifier with a 2-1 victory over Chinese Taipei here on Saturday.
Robin, who came in as late substitute for Jewel Raja Shaikh, scored the winner in the 91st minute after Chinese Taipei had cancelled out the lead in the 54th minute through Lee Tai Lin. Jewel Raja had given the lead in the 40th minute.
Robin, who took the field in the 82nd minute, headed in the winner, connecting a fine cross from the right by midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi.
Chinese Taipei had the first chance in the 13th minute when it got a free-kick from around 25 yards. India goalkeeper Paul had to dive to the full to pull off a stunning save.
India also failed to go ahead when midfielder Mehtab Hossain missed an easy chance when he had to beat only the goalkeeper.
After a series of raids, India shot into lead in the 40th minute. Jewel Raja slipped past two rival defenders; collected a through pass from Sunil Chetri and sent it past the rival goalkeeper Lun Kun Chi.
Chinese Taipei regrouped after change of ends and cancelled out India’s lead in the 54th minute with Lee Tai Lin heading in Su De Cai’s corner.
The goal pushed the Indians on the backfoot and all of a sudden, Chinese Taipei had more possession.
Nabi’s entry in the 68th minute in place of Francis Fernandes gave the renewed vigour with the nippy midfielder making his usual run-downs at the flanks before releasing teasing crosses. Koevermans also replaced Raja with Robin in the 82nd minute.
India got the deserved winner in the first minute of injury time when Robin leaped high to head in Nabi’s centre from the right.
“We deserve to win. We were the better side,” Koevermans said at the post-match press conference. India play its second match against Guam on March 4.
The result: India 2 (Raja 40, Robin 90+1) bt Chinese Taipei 1 (Tai Lin 54).