Sunil Chhetri, the Indian football stalwart guides his team to the semifinals of the SAFF Championship, after the Blues registered a thumping victory over neighbors Nepal by a margin of 2-0, with the captain opening the scoring for his side, after Mahesh Singh rounding off a comprehensive victory with a classy goal. The hosts had previously defeated arch rivals Pakistan by a resounding margin of 4-0, thus two victories out of two gave them the opportunity to reach the last four of the tournament.
Sunil Chhetri guides India to the semis of SAFF Championship
When it comes to Indian football, it is the Indian captain Sunil Chhetri who always roars back to his monstrous form, thus providing his team with the impetus that they require. He has been one of the stalwarts of Indian football who keeps on breaking records at his “prime” age of 38. He ranks fifth in the list of all-time highest goal scorers list in the world, and third among active football players, in hot pursuit of the legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He has continued his top classy form in the SAFF Championship after going gaga against Pakistan, scoring a mind blowing hattrick against their arch rivals. Yesterday night, he opened the scoring on 62nd minute in a vital clash against Nepal, increasing his tally to 91 goals from 139 caps for the country. The prolific striker is leading the goal scoring charts in the tournament scoring his fourth goal yesterday, which is slated to increase in the coming matches.
The best in the business
The victory last night strengthened India’s position in the tournament, as with six points from two games, they are well placed in the semis and would look to march forward to the finals. The final game against Kuwait will determine the group winner as the middle-eastern country has also reached the semis, after registering two victories from two outings.
Nepal had posed a severe threat for the Indian line-up after they had presented with a strong and sturdy defense backline, which was coupled with swift counterattacks. But, the experienced Indian line-up was a force to reckon with as they patiently warded off Nepal’s initial attacks, before going ahead.
Both teams have had their fare share of chances. India could have got off to a flyer when talented star Sahal Abdul Samad narrowly missed a header on the 21st minute, wasting the opportunity to go ahead in the beginning and putting pressure on their opponents. On the other hand, Nepal saw their chance of going ahead blown away by Rohit Kumar on the 34th minute, when the Indian midfielder made a goal-line clearance from Bimal Ghatri.
Sahal and Mahesh outwitted the Nepalese defenders on the 61st minute, when Chhetri found himself unmarked and took his chance to score the opener, confidently slotting past goalkeeper Kiran Limbu on the 62nd minute. This goal rejuvenated the Indians as they were hot on their heels to score one more, to get a comfortable cushion of 2 goals.
On the 70th minute, it was Sahal again who orchestrated the second goal, after he assisted the shot to Sunil Chhetri, only to get deflected by Kiran Limbu to fall perfectly in place for Mahesh Singh who perfectly headed their second goal, which confirmed a place in the semis for the Blues.
With this victory, India’s juggernaut rolls in the tournament as they will be upbeat to face a crucial game against sturdy opponents Kuwait in the final group tie, a match which will decide the roster for the semifinals.