SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015: Team India comeback from 1-0 down to win the SAFF Cup final against Afghanistan

The SAFF Suzuki Cup final between India and Afghanistan lived upto to its expectation. The winner was decided in extra time when Sunil Chetri pounced on an error at the Afghan defense to slot home the winner crowning the Blue Tigers the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015 champions. A record seven time winners of the Cup.

Team India came into the final having beaten a spirited Maldives side 3-2. On the contrary Afghanistan demolished SriLanka 5-0 to make it to the ultimate stage. Both team boasted an unbeaten run in this year’s tournament. Although the head to head record was 4-1 in favour of the Blue Tigers, the last time they faced Afghanistan in 2013 final in Kathmandu team India were beaten 2-0.

Constantine’s men were unfortunate to be denied by the woodwork twice as they could have easily been up 2-0. The Indian defense was a worry coming into the final facing a terrorising Afghan attack. But everyone contributed well to their duties to keep the score 0-0. Until the 69th minute when Zubayr Amiri gave Afghanistan the lead slotting home a neat finish past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. With 20 minutes remaining questions were bring asked of Stephen Constantine’s men whether they could come back and they showed character of steel. In the 70th minute a brilliant pass into the box was headed forward by skipper Chetri and Jeje pounced on the opportunity to slot home the finish equalising for the hosts as the stadium came back to life again.

After 1-1 the game started to become an end to end contest with both sides going for the winner. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had a night to remember standing tall in the Indian goal denying the Afghans any chance to grab the winner. At full time the score was 1-1. Moving into extra time Team India started the brighter of the two and in the 101st minute skipper Sunil Chetri pounced on a blunder in Afghan defense to slot home a finish. Credit to the skipper as he was calm under pressure and grabbed the chance well.

A massive roar at the final whistle  as Team India were crowned champions. Stephen Constantine was full of praise for this young Indian squad who had exceeded the expectations of everyone. Having been a poor world cup qualifiers, the Blue tigers never gave up and with the help of a spirited coach kept moving forward. As promised Constantine gave opportunities to youngster and they made the full use of it. Once again the SAFF Suzuki Cup final was a thrilling one enthralling the spectators. It is still a long journey on the international stage for the BLUE TIGERS but a step in the right direction nonetheless. There is talent in this team,belief a wonderful coach and most importantly the backing of the entire nation.


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