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Indian men’s football team wins 2021 SAFF Championship

NEW DELHI: Sunil Chhetri once again led from the front as India overcame lackluster first half to overcome Nepal 3-0 in the final and won the SAFF Championships for the record-extending eighth time with a commanding 3-0 win over Nepal in the final in Male, Maldives on Saturday.

Igor Stimac’s first silverware as Blue Tigers boss came due to a solid second-half performance. He was unable to participate in the final due to a suspension.

After a scoreless first half, India scored two quick goals to take the game away from Nepal shortly after the restart.

Stimac, who took over as coach of India’s senior national team in 2019, became the sixth foreign coach to win the SAFF Championships, following Jiri Pesek (1993) and Stephen Constantine (2001). (2015).

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Sunil Chhetri, who most probably played his last SAFF Championship match on Saturday, inspired a side that lacked decisiveness in the final third throughout the first half. The great scored India’s first goal just four minutes into the second half.

Soon after, Suresh Singh doubled the lead, and India continued to create more opportunities. It all paid off when Sahal, who came on off the bench, scored a stoppage-time goal to end the game.

India drew their first two matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, putting them in danger of missing the final, but a win over Nepal in the group stages got them back into the competition, after which they thrashed the Maldives.

However, Nepal will leave the Maldives with their heads held high after reaching their first final and giving a decent account of themselves in the first half of the major final, despite being placed 61 places below India at 168th.

Minister of Law and Justice and former sports Minister of India Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter and wrote,”Indian Men’s Football Team wins a record eighth SAFF Championship! I extend my hearty Congratulations to Captain @chetrisunil11 and the entire team members on achieving the spectacular victory.”

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