Indian Football

Sunil Chhetri scores late winner as India seal 1-0 victory over Nepal in SAFF Championship

Ali Shibil Roshan
Sunil Chhetri scored India's winner vs Nepal
Sunil Chhetri scored India's winner vs Nepal / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Sunil Chhetri scored a late winner as India sealed a 1-0 win over Nepal in the 2021 SAFF Championship and boosted their hopes of progression to the finals of the competition.

India had drawn their first two matches in the competition - Bangladesh held them to a 1-1 draw in their first game while the clash with Sri Lanka ended in a goalless draw - and the Blue Tigers went into this game needing a win to keep hopes of a place in the final alive.

India started the game on front foot, dominating possession, and they should have taken the lead four minutes after the half-hour mark. Mohammad Yasir found Chhetri inside the box, but the India skipper could not convert from close-range, much to the disappointment of the Blue Tigers.

The deadlock remained unbroken at half-time, and India began the game after the break with greater urgency. Yasir had a shot saved by Kiran Chemjong in the 54th minute, and Manvir Singh had his header denied by Nepalese goalkeeper four minutes later. Subhasish Bose headed straight at Chemjong in the 78th minute, while Chhetri missed another close-range opportunity on 80 minutes.

The breakthrough, though, came just two minutes later as Chhetri fired home from close range to seal India's victory. Farukh Choudhary headed towards goal a cross that was played into the box, and Chhetri duly converted it.

Meanwhile, India face hosts Maldives in their next game, at Maldives National Football Stadium on 13 October, 9:30 PM Indian Standard Time.