India retain SAFF Cup, pound four goals on 10-man AfghanistanDecember 11th, 2011 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) India dominated the last 20 minutes of the SAFF Cup football final against a 10-man Afghanistan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Sunday, thrashing them 4-0 for their sixth title.
The vastly-improved Afghanistan were very much in the game till the 68th minute but a contentious penalty and a controversial red-card to goalkeeper Hameedullah Yousufzari by Singapore referee Sukhbir Singh ended the gritty Afghan’s fairy-tale journey in the tournament.
Sunil Chettri converted the penalty in the 71st and helped India to add two more through Clifford Miranda (79th), Jeje Lalpeklua (80th) to crush Afghanistan. Substitute Sushil Singh (90+) struck in the injury time to end the game in style for the defending champions. Chettri emerged the top scorer with seven goals.
India bagged the winner’s purse of $50,000 while Afghanistan were richer by $25,000. All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel also announced an additional Rs.1 lakh for the Indian players.
The nippy Afghans were clearly the better team and had the match in control till the 68th minute. But the penalty and the red-card to Yousufzari, for pushing the referee, proved the turning point.
For India the penalty was lucky as Jeje was fouled on the edge of the box by defender Faisal Safa. The decision infuriated the Aghan goalkeeper, who pushed the referee. Play was held up for three minutes as Yousufzari and coach Mohammed Yusuf Kargar furiously protested but their efforts were futile.
Chettri had to retake the penalty after his first attempt was cancelled for intrusion by Nirmal Chettri in the penalty box. The goal pepped up India and they went all out against Afghanistan.
In the next nine minutes, India added two more through Miranda and Jeje while Sushil Singh struck in the injury time as India retained the title.
India were even lucky to double the lead through Miranda as Afghanistan were playing with nine men since left-back Safa was receiving treatment on the sidelines. The Dempo midfielder was well set-up on the right with a good pass from Chettri and unleashed his right-footer that crashed into the net. In the next minute, Jeje was on target after being set-up by a precise pass from Chettri.
India, however, were under tremendous pressure in the first half as Afghanistan breached their defence right from the start. Afghanistan came close to open the scoring in the first minute after their Norway-based striker Belal Arezou ran into the box dispossessing Anthony Pereira but a good tackle by Gourmangi Singh saved India the blushes.
The Indians struggled to keep pace with the lively Afghanistan team with Arezou ripping apart the India defence. Afghanistan lacked finishing, or else they would have been the deserving champions.
India: Karanjit Singh; Syed Rahim Nabi, Mahesh Gawli, Nirmal Chettri, Gourmangi Singh; Clifford Miranda (Lalrindika Ralte, Climax Lawrence, Rocus Lamare 90+), Anthony Pereira (Steven Dias, 72); Sunil Chhetri (Sushil Singh, 84) and Jeje Lalepkhlua
Afghanistan: Hameedullah Yousufzari; Faisal Safa, Haroon Fakhrudin, Mohammad Esrafil, Yousef Mashriqi; Ata Yamir Ali, Djelaludin Sharityar, Ghulam Hazrat Abdul, Moqadar Faizullah; Belal Arezou and Sanjar Ahmadi (Masood Hashmi, 75)
Referee: Sukhbir Singh (Singapore)
–Indo-asian News Service
- SAFF final: Afghanistan will not be easy meat for India - Dec 10, 2011
- SAFF Cup: Afghan coach accuses Singapore referee of bias - Dec 11, 2011
- India unimpressive, lucky to get a point (Lead) - Dec 03, 2011
- SAFF Cup: India beat Sri Lanka 3-0, face Maldives in semifinal - Dec 07, 2011
- SAFF Cup football: India slam five against hapless Bhutan - Dec 05, 2011
- SAFF Cup: India too good for Maldives; face Afghanistan in final - Dec 09, 2011
- India beat Afghanistan to retain SAFF Cup - Dec 11, 2011
- Koevermans includes Chettri in Nehru Cup probables - Aug 07, 2012
- Arnab, Clifford ruled out from AFC Challenge Cup - Mar 02, 2012
- Koevermans names 37 probables for Nehru Cup - Jul 06, 2012
- Spirited India hold UAE 2-2, but World Cup dreams over (Lead) - Jul 29, 2011
- World Cup qualifier: Spirited India hold UAE 2-2, but lose 2-5 in aggregate - Jul 28, 2011
- Climax was rested, not dropped: Savio - Feb 01, 2012
- SAFF Cup: India sans Sameer Naik in must-win match against Bhutan - Dec 04, 2011
- Wadoo, Pereira strike as India beat Namibia 2-0 (Lead) - Sep 15, 2010
Tags: 1 lakh, afghans, aiff, cup football, fairy tale, faisal, football federation, injury time, jawaharlal nehru, jawaharlal nehru stadium, jeje, miranda, mohammed yusuf, penalty box, praful patel, referee, rs 1, sukhbir singh, three minutes, top scorer