• Monday, May 27, 2024

FOOTBALL

India score own goal to draw Kuwait 1-1 in SAFF football; finish second best in group

India captain Sunil Chhetri put his team ahead in the extra time in the first half but an own goal from Anwar Ali towards the end of the game saw the game getting drawn.

India’s captain Sunil Chhetri (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in a SAFF Championship 2023 match at Shree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on June 21, 2023. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA failed to continue with their winning run in the SAFF Championship football on Tuesday (27) as they drew Kuwait in their final group game, thanks to an own goal. The match at Sree Kanteerava Stadium ended 1-1 and the hosts finished as the second-best team in Group A despite finishing on equal points with toppers Kuwait owing to scoring a goal less.

India were put ahead in the extra time in the first half when their captain Sunil Chhetri scored, taking his international goal tally to 92. But they squandered the advantage as Anwar Ali scored an own goal in the extra minute in the second half.

The eight-time champions will now play the winner of Group B which currently is topped by Lebanon.

India won their first match against Pakistan 4-0 while they beat Nepal in the second 2-0. Chhetri scored a hat-trick against Pakistan and one against Nepal.

Tuesday’s match saw a number of low moments as the referee produced the red card on a number of occasions, including against India’s head coach Igor Stimach who was back in the technical arena after serving out a suspension in the game against Nepal after seeing the red card in the clash against Pakistan.

The Croatian coach was shown a yellow card during the match for his undue involvement in the game from the technical arena. He was shown the red card in the 80th minute as he was sent off for the second time in the tournament.

India’s Rahim Ali was also sent off which reduced the home team to 10 men. For Kuwait, Hamad Alqallaf also suffered the same fate.

In the earlier game, Nepal beat Pakistan 1-0 to secure the third position in the group. Pakistan failed to win a single match in the tournament.

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