Chhetri’s goal helps India bag three points against Nepal

Before tonight’s match, India had the upper hand over Nepal with 14 wins to 2 losses against them in previous encounters. In a must-win game and history evidently on their side, Sunil Chhetri-led India justified the distinction.

Winless in the first two matches of the SAFF Championship 2021 so far, India’s desperation for a victory and three points for a possible place in the final was released by Chhetri’s goal in the 82nd minute.

In the first half, India aimed at taking control by possession with sharper passing on display. The 14th minute saw Nepal turn on their offensive measure. Brandon Fernandes lost the ball in a dangerous spot, however, Suresh Wangjam came to the rescue with a clean tackle.

India’s time to shine then came with talisman Sunil Chhetri almost firing the ball into the back of an open goal but the Indian captain couldn’t capitalise.

On the cusp of half-time, Chhetri was involved in another goal-scoring opportunity with a header directed to Manvir Singh’s path but it wasn’t to be. India put in an improved performance but couldn’t replicate it on the scoreboard.

Chhetri seemed to be omnipresent with him leading India’s chances in front of the goal. He missed out on a header in the 77th minute and in the 80th minute when he connected a header but the ball bounced over the goalpost. 

India’s second half seemed to be replicating the same script of the previous two matches with ample chances generated but a failure to maximise. Chhetri, however, ensured there was a twist in the tale. He scored the goal to hand India the lead in the final ten minutes after a brilliantly directed header from Farukh Choudhary.

Trailing by a goal, Nepal upped the ante in the final minutes of the game with an ultra-aggressive strategy. But India held firm in the end to keep their chances of making the SAFF Championship final alive.

 

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