SAFF Championship: India defeated Kuwait 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the match was tied 1-1 after extra time to win the SAFF Championship title for the record ninth time on Tuesday. The match was a closely contested affair with both teams creating chances. Kuwait took the lead in the 14th minute through Shabaib Al Khaldi, but India equalized through Lallianzuala Chhangte in the 39th minute.
The match went into extra time but neither team could find a winner, setting up a penalty shootout. India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made two saves in the shootout to help his team win the title.
This is India’s first SAFF Championship title since 2015 and their ninth overall. They have now overtaken Nepal as the most successful team in the history of the tournament.
The win is a major boost for Indian football and will give the team confidence ahead of their upcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
SAFF Championship Match Highlights:
- India started the match brightly and created several chances in the early stages.
- Kuwait took the lead in the 14th minute through Al Khaldi, who scored with a powerful header from close range.
- India equalized in the 39th minute through Chhangte, who slotted home a rebound after his initial shot was saved by the Kuwait goalkeeper.
- The match went into extra time but neither team could find a winner.
- India won the penalty shootout 5-4, with Sandhu making two saves.
In a post-match session Indian coach Igor Stimac said: “I am very proud of my team. They showed great character and determination to win the title. We have a lot of young players in the team and this is a great experience for them. We will continue to work hard and improve our game.”
Kuwait coach Abdulla Al Bader also chimed in. He said: “We are disappointed with the result but we played well against a good team. India were the better team in the penalty shootout but we can be proud of our performance.”
SAFF Championship Fan reactions:
- “This is a historic moment for Indian football,” said one fan. “We have finally won the SAFF Championship after so many years.”
- “The future of Indian football looks bright,” said another fan. “We have a young and talented team that can achieve great things.”
The win is a major boost for Indian football and will give the team confidence ahead of their upcoming AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. The team will be looking to build on this success and qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time since 2011.