• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

India dominate SAFF football again, beat Kuwait 5-4 in penalties to clinch 9th title

The match ended 1-1 at the end of extra time after India equalised before half time.

An Indian (orange) and Kuwaiti player play for dominating over the ball during the final of the SAFF Championship 2023 at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, India, on July 4, 2023. (Picture: All India Football Federation Twitter account/@IndianFootball)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA on Tuesday (4) beat invitees Kuwait 5-4 in penalty shootout to win the SAFF Championship crown for the record ninth time.

The defending champions came back into the game before half-time after conceding an early goal and the match remained 1-1 at the end of extra time at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. In the penalty shootouts, both teams scored from their first four shots but it was the save from India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu that gave Sunil Chhetri’s team the trophy.

Chhetri was the highest scorer in the tournament with five goals.

India kicked off their campaign in the eight-nation tournament with a thumping 4-0 win over arch-rivals Pakistan. They then beat Nepal 2-0 before drawing Kuwait 1-1. In the semi-finals, India defeated Lebanon 4-2 in penalty shootouts after regulation time saw a goalless draw. This is the first time that India won the final of a tournament in penalty shootouts since they beat Cameroon in the title round of the Nehru Cup in 2012.

The SAFF championship is the second title that India won in less than a month following their victory in the Intercontinental Cup in Bhubaneswar in Odisha in June.

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