Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri was pleased with the team's overall performance but disappointed not to have secured all three points from the game as they played to a 1-1 draw with Kuwait in the final group match of the SAFF Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The Blue Tigers displayed a valiant effort against the formidable Middle East opponent. They started the game with high intensity and put the opposition on the back foot from the very beginning of the game. Captain Chhetri showed great composure to put India ahead with a beautiful volley from an Anirudh Thapa corner at the stroke of half-time.

The tempo of the game intensified even further in the second half, with the Blue Tigers effectively neutralizing Kuwait's attacks. Unfortunately, India's hopes of topping the group were shattered by an own goal from Anwar Ali during the second-half injury time.

Chhetri, who marked his 92nd international goal against Kuwait, shared his thoughts on the match.

“To a large extent, we could do exactly what we had planned and trained. This team can play, and we could see that. But we managed to match their energy for the majority of the time. We did well from start to finish. The adrenaline is still running, but I think we will know better once we see the videos,” Chhetri stated during the post-match press conference.

“The feeling that comes to my mind right now is that of a loss because, at the last moment, you concede that goal. We did a lot of good things,” he added.

India produced an admirable defensive record, having maintained eight clean sheets before facing Kuwait. Even in the match against Kuwait, their defensive performance remained strong. However, an unfortunate mistake from Anwar Ali resulted in them losing the opportunity to secure three points and claim the top position in Group A.

Chhetri believes it is a technical mistake that should not be excessively emphasised, as it is a common part of the game.

“It happens, could happen to anyone. We don’t take technical mistakes too seriously. We just work on our efforts. I have missed some silly goals, somebody is going to make a rash challenge and we concede a penalty, it happens. We will work on our mistakes and get better, India conceded the goal, not Anwar Ali,” said Chhetri.

The level of the SAFF Championship has significantly increased, and this enhancement is clearly visible in the gameplay. The inclusion of Lebanon and Kuwait as invitees has elevated the competition's excitement and quality, presenting a good challenge for the SAFF countries.

The 38-year-old, who found the net against both Lebanon (in the Hero Intercontinental Cup) and Kuwait, recognizes the increased level of competition in the tournament and the formidable challenge posed by the two invited countries.

“All teams are doing well, but within the SAFF Nations and beyond, we have played Lebanon and they are a good team. Kuwait also was a tough challenge,” said the striker.

The leading goal scorer for India has accomplished another remarkable feat on Tuesday, becoming the joint-top goalscorer with 23 goals in the SAFF Championship, sharing the position with Maldives' Ali Ashfaq following his outstanding strike.

However, the Indian captain, true to his humble nature, modestly said, "I don't take these things too seriously."

Chhetri, as always, has been a key figure in India's recent scoring spree, having scored seven out of the last 12 goals in their past seven games. However, when asked about whether the team relies too heavily on him for goals, he firmly dismissed such a perception.

“It is not a true statement that they are dependent on me. Without me also they have performed well. It’s not about Sunil Chhetri, there are many players who will come, many who are playing well right now. People talk about me all the time, but I am just a part of the team,” he concluded.