India lifts SAFF Championship title
KATHMANDU: Nepal, which had made it to the final of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship for the first time in the history of the game, has been defeated by India on Saturday.
In the final match played at the National Stadium in Male, the capital of the Maldives, India thrashed Nepal three goals to nil. With this win, India has clinched the SAFF Championship title for the eighth time.
Although the first half of the final match ended in a goal-less draw, India scored three goals. India had made an aggressive start in the second half. Captain Sunil Chhetri, Suresh Singh Wangzam and Sahal Abdul Samad scored a goal each for India.
India had taken a lead with a head goal by Sunil in the 49th minute while Suresh scored in the 59th minute. Sahal scored a goal in the injury time of the game-sealing a 3-0 victory for India, limiting Nepal to the runner-up status in the South Asia’s biggest football championship.
India had played the final remaining in the top spot of the tournament in which five countries were vying. Nepal reached the final remaining in the second spot on the basis of Round Robin league. Nepal played four games of the Championship. It won two games while one game ended in a draw.
Nepal was defeated by India 1-0 in the earlier game of the Championship. Nepal stopped Bangladesh to a 1-1 goal draw in the final game of the league stage and entered the final of the Championship. India had entered the final after winning two games and drawing in two.