India qualifies for the SAFF FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP match


In a thrilling encounter between India and Lebanon football semi-final match, India overpowered Lebanon and secured the position for the finals with Kuwait on Saturday, July 1, in the SAFF Championship being played at Bangalore..

It was a thrilling encounter and the crowd kept roaring to see the goals but both teams remained goalless in the time allotted for the match.

The match was pushed to the extra-time. In the extra-time as well the defense of Lebanon was intact and the Indian footballers were not successful in netting the ball at the Lebanese end.

The Indian team was out on the grounds without their Head Coach  Igor Stimac as he is facing a match band leading to his conduct on the field.

The team was well guided by Mahesh Gawli the Assistant Coach who said in an interview after the victory that “first 15 minutes were sloppy …but later we dominated the pitch … and intensity was high throughout the match”.

He kept the boys motivated throughout the match.

For 120 minutes both teams failed to register a winning goal.

The first few minutes after the start of the match Lebanon dominated the show, but later the host nation responded with quick moves from the left and right flank and came very close to shattering the defense of the opposition team. Sunil Chhetri moved heaven and earth but could not find the target.

Both the goalkeepers showed their deter and didn’t let the ball pass through them even for once, thus leaving the deciders for a penalty shootout.

The penalty shootout was electrifying making the crowd crazy with excitement as it turned out to be a nail-biting finish.

The shootout started with Sunil Chhetri who dozed the Lebanon goalkeeper and netted the ball with his right foot. The crowd erupted with joy. Now was the turn of Lebanon to take the shot. The Indian goalkeeper made the right judgement by jumping towards his right side and saved the goal for India. India was now 1-0. Anwar made the second goal for India by completely fooling the Lebanese goalkeeper.

In the second attempt, Lebanon was able to score their first goal of the match. The goal tally was now 2-1. In the third attempt, Mahesh found the net by taking the tally of goal 3-1, followed by the Lebanese who also were successful in scoring their second goal of the match.

At this juncture of the match, it was 50-50 either team could qualify for the finals.

The next goal was very crucial but the Indian soccer player Udanta pushed the ball inside the net completely bewildering the goalkeeper of Lebanon.

Thus goal tally was now standing at 4-2. Khalil Bader came out for the fourth shot at the penalty from Lebanon; it was going to be a decider shot.

To all our surprise his shot missed the goalpost and sailed over the crossbar of the goalpost. Walid Shour and Mohammad Sadek of Lebanon scored the goals in the penalty shootout.

With this failed attempt India entered into the SAFF Championship FINAL match to be played on July 4, 2023, at Bengaluru.

The final Score Board was 4-2.

India will be looking forward to lifting the final trophy at the final with Kuwait who has already qualified for the final match.