India’s Chhetri leads team to 2-0 victory over Nepal, extending winning streak in SAFF Championship.
India rejoices in SAFF Cup victory over Nepal, celebrating their triumphant win. (Photo: PTI)
India’s winning streak in the SAFF Cup continued as they triumphed over Nepal with a 2-0 victory on June 24th. In the second half of the game, Captain Sunil Chhetri (61st minute) and Mahesh Singh (70th minute) scored goals, securing India’s second consecutive win in the tournament.
Chhetri’s goal marked his 91st international goal, placing him fourth among the all-time leading international goal scorers. With six points from two wins, India advanced to the semifinals alongside Kuwait, who also secured six points with a 4-0 win against Pakistan earlier that day.
The upcoming match between India and Kuwait on June 27th will determine the group winner. Unfortunately, Nepal and Pakistan have been eliminated from the tournament as they suffered two defeats each.
In a challenging match, India faced strong opposition from Nepal, who displayed great determination in the first half. Despite Nepal’s lower FIFA ranking, they matched India’s energy and intensity.
However, their poor passing in the final third hindered their progress. Nepal’s attackers lacked confidence in taking shots and instead opted for ineffective passes, leading them into difficult situations near the box.
Nepal had a golden opportunity to take a 1-0 lead when Bimal Ghatri’s shot was cleared off the goal line by Rohit Kumar in the 34th minute. India showed increased urgency and purpose in the second half, capitalizing on the injuries suffered by Anjan and Arik Bista, who were substituted.
With Nepal’s attacking threat diminished, India applied pressure and made use of Sahal Abdul Samad, Sunil Chhetri, and others to create opportunities.
The opening goal in the 61st minute was the result of a swift exchange between Sahal and Mahesh, evading the Nepalese defense before finding an unmarked Chhetri inside the box. Chhetri calmly beat goalkeeper Kiran Limbu to give India the lead.
The goal injected energy into the Indian players, who continued their search for another goal. Sahal orchestrated the midfield brilliantly, with support from Mahesh Singh. They worked tirelessly in the second half.
The second goal showcased Sahal’s speed and skills as he made a powerful run through the center. His pass found Chhetri, whose shot deflected off Limbu.
However, Mahesh Singh was in the right position to head the ball into the net in the 70th minute, securing a crucial 2-0 lead for India.
Despite conceding a two-goal advantage, Nepal made valiant efforts to mount a comeback. However, India managed to preserve their lead and maintain the scoreline.