India laboured to a win over Nepal to keep themselves alive in SAFF Championship 2021 in an interesting final day. After the disappointment of the two previous draws against Bangladesh (football results) and Sri Lanka (football match), India faced Nepal. And finally, the Blue Tigers of India enjoyed their first SAFF victory by winning 1-0 over Nepal yesterday, on Sunday.
India registered their first win of the SAFF Championship 2021 on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Nepal.
And though they remained unconvincing in this marginal victory, Sunil Chhetri was once again the man who rescued the team. Perhaps it is time, again, to ask whether the Indian football players of the Blue Tigers national team too reliant on Chhetri.
Nonetheless, after this win, India are now in third place with five points from three matches.
Meanwhile, Maldives currently lead the table with six points from three matches. Nepal team are second because though they have as many points as Maldives, they’re inferior in goal difference.
On the final day of round robin stage, India will play leaders Maldives while Nepal and Bangladesh face each other.
India Enjoyed Their First SAFF Victory by Winning 1-0 over Nepal
India showed more urgency than their previous games, for which they got their reward towards the end of the game.
After huffing and puffing and a few missed chances throughout the game, Chhetri finally found the back of the net.
Brandon passed the ball towards Farukh who nodded it towards Chhetri, who volleyed it home in the 82nd minute. And this goal eventually won the game for India.
Prior to the goal, Nepal didn’t seem under much pressure and instead, they were quite comfortable defending against India.
Later, after the goal, they pushed back hard to equalise as well but just could not make it happen.
Suresh Singh Wangjam cut back the ball for Sunil Chhetri, who had an open goal to aim at. The Indian captain missed the sitter and failed to give India a definite lead, though.
Close to the end of the first half, Manvir Singh also got in a good position to score. But instead of directly going for the shot, he tried to take a touch first and missed the ball completely.
India dominated possessing and that was because Igor Stimac allowed Brandon Fernandes to start. His vision on the pitch enabled India to play more expansively and use the space better.
Nepal, on the other hand, stayed solid at the back and create a couple of half openings themselves. It was clear that Nepal’s strategy was counter-attacking because they tried to release their striker Manish with long balls repeatedly.
Unlike the match against Sri Lanka, Chhetri did not look isolated today and was instead heavily involved in the gameplay.
Plus, the ball was actually reaching him from behind. And so, some good battle between him and Nepal goalkeeper Kiran Limbu ensued.