India’s Victory in Penalty Shootout Sends Them to SAFF Championship Final

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India Clinches Final Berth at SAFF Championship with Dramatic Penalty Shootout Victory Against Lebanon; Sets Up Epic Showdown with Kuwait.

India secures final spot at SAFF Championship after thrilling penalty shootout victory. (Photo: PTI)

India displayed dominance throughout the 120-minute match, but Lebanon put up a gritty defense, denying the Blue Tigers a clear victory. In the 16th minute, Ali Dhanini’s last-moment interception thwarted Sahal Samad’s almost-certain goal from a Jeakson Singh pass.

The first half saw goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu making crucial saves to keep Lebanon’s Hassan Maatouk at bay. Sandhu’s heroics continued in the 61st minute, denying Karim Darwich’s headed effort off a Mahdri Zein cross.

While Lebanon dominated chances in the second half, India came close when Anwar Ali’s header from a corner hit the crossbar, brilliantly tipped by Mehdi Khalil.

With the match ending in a goalless draw, India triumphed in the penalty shootout to book their place in the final against Kuwait.

After a goalless 90 minutes, the SAFF Championship semi-final between India and Lebanon extended into extra time. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri came close to scoring twice early in the extra period but was denied in the 94th minute and missed a golden opportunity two minutes later.

In the second half of extra time, Udanta Singh and Mahesh Singh created chances, but neither team could find the back of the net. With the match deadlocked at 0-0 after 120 minutes, the semi-final proceeded to a penalty shootout.

Chhetri successfully converted India’s first penalty, while Lebanon’s Matook missed his attempt, giving India a 1-0 advantage. Anwar Ali and Walid Shour both scored from the spot, taking the score to 2-1.

Mahesh Singh and Mohamad Sadek found the net, making it 3-2. Udanta confidently converted his penalty, while Lebanon’s Khalil Bader missed, resulting in a 4-2 shootout victory for India.

India’s victory sets up a final showdown against Kuwait, who defeated Bangladesh 1-0 in the other semi-final clash.

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Toshika Chauhan

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