Defending champions India held their nerves to beat Lebanon 4-2 in a tense penalty shootout after a goalless 120 minutes of play to enter the ultimate of the SAFF Championship soccer in Bengaluru on Saturday. The house aspect face Kuwait, a 1-0 winner over Bangladesh within the different semifinal of the day, within the summit conflict on July 4. India will probably be taking part in within the ultimate of the regional event for the thirteenth time and ninth on the trot. They’ve received eight instances within the earlier 13 editions. The one time India didn’t make it to the highest two was in 2003. Within the penalty shootout, skipper Sunil Chhetri, Anwar Ali, Mahesh Singh and Udanta Singh discovered the again of the web for India.
Lebanon may solely rating twice by means of Walid Shour and Mohammad Sadek.
India goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu saved the kick from Hassan Maatouk whereas Khalil Bader’s sailed above the crossbar.
It was additionally India’s second successive win over Lebanon after defeating them 2-0 within the latest Intercontinental Cup in Odisha.
Earlier than the late drama unfolded, the primary half started with Lebanon dominating the proceedings. India weren’t even within the image for the primary 10 minutes.
Lebanon had an excellent probability to go forward within the second minute. However Nader Matar was a bit too wanting to execute a volley, failing to impart path because it sailed over the bar.
India discovered their bearings quickly and bought their first crack on the opposition purpose within the sixteenth minute.
For as soon as, Chhetri performed the position of an orchestrator and pushed ahead Jeakson Singh with a well-directed cross. Jeakson discovered Sahal Abdul Samad contained in the field with a cross. Nevertheless, Sahal’s shot was parried away on the purpose line by Ali Dhaini.
Lebanon have been the higher aspect within the first half they usually bought one other probability to take lead within the forty second minute. Nevertheless, captain Hassan Maatouk couldn’t evade the stretched arms of Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu.
Motion continued to be at a livid tempo within the second half as nicely. However each India and Lebanon couldn’t break the impasse. Each side additionally defended nicely.
Regardless of the midfield of each the groups displaying a aggressive streak, they did not give you a inventive second because the match meandered into the additional time.
Chhetri may have scored twice within the 93rd and ninety fifth minutes, however on each the events the Indian captain uncharacteristically couldn’t discover the goal.