India beat Afghanistan 2-1 with late win over Chhetri, Sahal
India produced a dramatic 1–2 win against Afghanistan in their second match of Group D in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier 2023 at the VYBK Stadium on June 11, 2022, with Sunil Chhetri and Sahal Abdul Samad finishing 86th and 90th in the country. Scoring for. +2 minutes respectively.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) June 11, 2022
The match started at a very fast pace as both Afghanistan and India tried to raise the pitch and stamped their authority on the match. There was no room to breathe in the middle of the park and this was the case throughout the match. The first crucial action came in the sixth minute when Manveer Singh overtook some players and made his way into the box but a brilliant tackle stopped the forward in his tracks. India piled on the pressure in the opening 10 minutes, earning several corners but Afghanistan were able to defend them.
In the 12th minute, Liston Colaco got a chance to score with a free kick but his effort was off target. The first big opportunity came just after 15 minutes when Jackson Singh met a corner kick at the end of the inswinging delivery, but could not get the ball to the target from the near post. Afghanistan got their first chance to threaten the Indian goal in the 20th minute. Kouhyar gets a wonderful diagonal ball but the threat was averted by a brilliant tackle from Suresh Singh Wangjam.
In the 23rd minute, anger flared up when Ashiq Kuruniyan brought down Afghanistan captain Farshad Noor, but it was the latter’s retaliation that resulted in him being booked by the referee. After that, things calmed down again as India controlled the match with more possession of the ball, more chances but unfortunately for the Blue Tigers, they could not convert any chances.
However, just before the interval, Chhetri reached close to the opening. Manveer Singh hit a cross from the right side, Chhetri was able to make it down, stick it over Afghan defender Haroon Amiri inside the box and attempt a scissor kick, but unfortunately, he was not able to connect it. As he liked to do, another major concern was when Sandesh Jhingan injured his calf. However, the Indian defender struck as soon as he came back on the pitch.
After the break, Afghanistan came down with the intention of winning the match and brought India on the back foot. Farshad Noor took a shot from long range but his effort was over the bar, which did not deter Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The biggest ever for India came in the 50th minute when Ashiq crossed a ball towards Manveer, who took the ball to Sunil Chhetri, but the Indian skipper missed a few yards and Afghanistan got a big one. escaped from fear.
In the 56th minute, coach Igor Stimac decided to go on the offensive as Brandon Fernandes was brought in for Liston Colaco. In the 62nd minute, it looked like Afghanistan would break the deadlock when Omid Popalze passed the ball for Ahmed Hydari, but the header was six yards off target. Neither team was able to finalize what was needed till the end of the game. Glenn Martins came in for Jackson Singh in the 68th minute, who proved to be a formidable defensive shield. In the 73rd minute, Anwar Ali missed a golden opportunity to score his first goal for India when he hit the ball from close range.
It looked like neither team would be able to break the deadlock but it was Sunil Chhetri who came up with the goal once again. India won a free-kick on the edge of the box courtesy of Ashiq Kuruniyan, which was brought down in the 84th minute. Sunil Chhetri stepped up and swung the ball off the wall and into the back of the net to send the crowd into wild celebration. Those celebrations, however, were short-lived, as in the 88th minute, Afghanistan equalized when a corner for them, Zubair Amiri, was found unmarked at a nearby post, which came with a thumping effort.
Sunil Chhetri and Manveer Singh were dismissed in the 89th minute, while Udant Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad were dismissed. Ashiq was a constant threat to Afghanistan’s defense throughout the game and was also responsible for booking Omid Mousavi in the 90th minute. However, his biggest contribution was yet to come. After some pinball stuff on the side of the box in stoppage time, the ball fell to Aashiq. With the defenders closing in on him, he slipped in a brilliant delivery for Sahal Abdul Samad, who slammed the ball into the bottom left corner from a difficult angle to give India all three points and bring a cheering scene to the VYBK Stadium.
With this win, India take the lead in points level with Hong Kong, both the teams are tied with 6 points in Group D. India will face their direct opponents for the top spot in the group on June 14, 2022, when they take on the aforementioned Hong. Kong VYBK Stadium at 8.30 pm (IST).