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Homechevron_rightSportschevron_rightFootballchevron_rightIndia's eighth SAFF...

India's eighth SAFF Championship title inspires to gear up for AFC Asian Cup 2021

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Indias eighth SAFF Championship title inspires to gear up for AFC Asian Cup 2021
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Male: Indian football team convincingly defeated Nepal 3-0 in the final to clinch the SAFF Championship trophy for a record eighth time at the National Football Stadium on Saturday.

Skipper Sunil Chhetri (48th minute) opened the scoring before youngster Suresh Singh (50th) doubled the lead within a minute to a two-goal lead for the Blue Tigers in the second half. Super-sub Abdul Sahal (90th) whizzed past the Nepalese defence to have nailed the final one in the coffin on the last minute of regulation time.

Incidentally, this was Chhetri's fifth goal in as many outings during this campaign to finish at the top of the scoring chart. Chhetri's goal in the game helped him level with Lionel Messi on 80 international goals. This was also Coach Igor Stimac's first trophy with the senior national team after taking over in 2019.

Stimac rang in a couple of changes to the starting line-up as Anirudh Thapa and Chinglensana Singh came in for the suspended Subhasish Bose and the injured Brandon Fernandes.

India dominated possession in the first half but they failed to score any goal. However, captain Chhetri put India ahead minutes into the second half and even before Nepal could settle down, Suresh made it 2-0.

Sahal made it 3-0 when he tricked a few defenders after receiving the ball on the left flank at the stroke of the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Sports minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday congratulated the Indian football team for winning SAFF Championship for the record eighth time.

"INDIA wins its 8th #SAFFChampionships2021 Title @chetrisunil11 scripts history as he equals Lionel Messi's record of making 80 goals in International Men's; Goal scorers: S Chettri, S Singh, S A Samad; Congratulations to the #BlueTigers!" Anurag Thakur wrote on Twitter.

Following their record-time eighth SAFF Championship victory, the Blue Tigers will now gear up for the AFC Asian Cup 2021 qualifying third round, which is scheduled to kick off next year.

The final was the 12th for India in 13 editions, which also shows their domination in this regional tournament.

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TAGS:SAFF Championship AFC Asian Cup 2021 
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