Kuwait hold India for 1-1 draw in a feisty affair in final group game of SAFF Championship

Jun 29, 2023

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In the final Group A match of the SAFF Championship 2023 on Tuesday at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, India and Kuwait played to a thrilling 1-1 draw. An own goal by centre-back Anwar Ali forced a tie as the Blue Tigers put on yet another excellent effort, just when it appeared that India would win the game.

A corner from the right fell perfectly onto the foot of an unguarded Sunil Chhetri within the opposition box, who subsequently scored with a brilliantly timed volley to give India the lead just on the stroke of halftime. 

Tensions erupted in both camps during the second half after the tournament’s second red card was given to India’s head coach. Rahim Ali and Hamad Al Qallaf of Kuwait received their marching orders during the 90th minute as the trouble persisted. In the last seconds, Kuwait equalised when a low cross from the right caught a deflection off Anwar’s knee and nestled in the far post, giving Amrinder Singh little chance to stop the ball. This was the first ball that the Indian team conceded in their last ten games.

Sunil Chettri spoke to the media after the game and discussed how India conceded the goal and it wasn’t just Anwar Ali. He said, “It’s not Anwar, it is the country that conceded.It can happen to anyone. We didn’t even talk about it now (after the match) and we are all professional enough to not talk about it. I hope the kid shrugs it off, we all have his back as it can happen to anyone.”

The Indian skipper focussed on stating that these technical mistakes are not the players’ fauls and it happens in the sport. He said, “Technical mistakes are something that we don’t take it too seriously, we just work on our effort. Sometimes I have missed some silly goals that I shouldn’t have missed, somebody’s going to make a silly challenge and we’ll get a penalty. It happens in football. So technical mistake is something that we don’t take too seriously. I’m pretty sure he’s going to work on it and it’s gone. India conceded the goal not Anwar.”

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