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SAFF Cup: Sunil Chhetri fires India to seventh heaven

India will battle it out against Afghanistan in the finals of the coveted SAFF Championships, on Sunday evening at the Trivandrum International Stadium, Kerala. The win was coach Constantine’s first worldwide title after taking over the reigns as manager in early 2015.

The match started in tentative fashion, with both teams sizing each other up without committing too many men forward. Jeje’s header on the rebound came off the crossbar, and he hit the crossbar again in the 56th minute with a powerful shot from outside the box. India beat Afghanistan in 2011. He did well to win the ball under pressure and played it for Narzary whose cross struck the trailing leg of Zubayr Amiri and came off Afghanistan goalkeeper Ovays Azizi.

Afghanistan has officially moved to Central Asian Football Association and this could very well be the last time they play in the South Asian tournament.

India finished stronger of the two and Azizi had to be alert to keep out Naryan Das’ ambitious shot from distance in first-half stoppage time as an evenly fought and entertaining first half ended on an even keel.

India will bank on captain Sunil Chhetri’s form which has been impressive so far, and also the midfield combination of Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Rowling Borges.

At the pre-match official media interaction National coach, Stephen Constantine states, “Afghanistan are the favourites because they have 15 players who play mostly in Europe”. Jeje, comfortably slotted it past the Afghani custodian to equalize Indias deficit and make the score-line 1-1.

But they were not to be denied in the 69th minute with Zubayr Amiri giving Afghanistan the lead.

Five minutes after Kanischka Taher’s 27th-minute long-range effort went just wide, Sunil Chhetri nearly broke the deadlock only to be denied by a superb save from Azizi before the Denmark-based keeper reacted quickly to smoother the ball at the feet of the India skipper to prevent him getting on to Lalpekhlua’s defence-splitting, but slightly overhit, pass as the interval approached. We may simply likewise get to see a wonderful minute from the wonderkid Lallianzuala Chhangte.

Bikas Jairu could have increased India’s lead only a couple of minutes later when he left the Afghans flat-footed with a speedy run down the left flank before cutting into the penalty box.

The mentor is positive concerning the odds that are team’s but accepted that Afghanistan has an advantage.

The Indian team had their official training session at 7 the evening.

India head into this game with the only absentee being Robin Singh.

Sunil Chhetri celebrates after scoring against Afghanistan in the SAFF Cup final.

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