Male (Maldives): Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri heaped praises on the team following the Blue Tigers’ victory over Nepal to clinch the SAFF Championship trophy for a record eighth time. India convincingly defeated Nepal 3-0 at the National Football Stadium in Male, Maldives, on Saturday to win the coveted trophy.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri (48′) opened the scoring before youngster Suresh Singh (50′) doubled the lead within a minute to a two-goal lead for the Blue Tigers in the second half. Super-sub Abdul Sahal (90′) whizzed past the Nepalese defence to nail the final one in the coffin on the last minute of regulation time.
Chhetri on Sunday said he didn’t like the way India had opened their SAFF Championship campaign but he was happy to end the showpiece note with a thumping win. “Didn’t start like we should have, but ended exactly how we wanted to. Proud of this bunch and the way we got things on track. I enjoyed watching that, Sahal. Suresh, of all the things you copy from me, this is up there. Make it a habit,” Chhetri tweeted.
Sunil Chhetri ended the SAFF Championships 2021 with the most number of goals — 5 and he has now also equaled the Lionel Messi of Argentina in the international men’s goal tally (80).
Following their record-time eighth SAFF Championship victory, the Blue Tigers will now gear up for the AFC Asian Cup 2021 qualifying third round that is scheduled to kick off next year.