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India wins their ninth title in the SAFF Championship in 2023 after defeating Kuwait 5-4 in a penalty shootout

<p>Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, the goalkeeper, once again proved to be the difference as he turned away a critical penalty attempt in the summit match to enable India defeat Kuwait 5-4 in the shootout and win the SAFF Championships championship for the eighth time on Tuesday in Bengaluru.</p>
<p>The sudden death rule was used when the score remained 4-4 after five rounds of penalty kicks.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-59308″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/www.theindiaprint.com-download-49-2.jpg” alt=”” width=”1394″ height=”869″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/www.theindiaprint.com-download-49-2.jpg 284w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/www.theindiaprint.com-download-49-2-150×93.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1394px) 100vw, 1394px” /><br />
Mahesh Naorem scored, but Kuwait captain Khaled Hajiah’s effort was blocked by a diving Sandhu, setting up a raucous celebration among the home crowd and in the India dugout.</p>
<p>Lallianzuala Chhangte tied the score in the 39th minute of normal time after Shabaib Al Khaldi had given Kuwait the lead in the 14th minute.</p>
<p>In their last group game, defending champion India and Kuwait also ended in a 1-1 tie.</p>
<p>This was India’s second victory in a penalty shootout. After defeating Lebanon 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the semifinal on July 1, they advanced to Tuesday’s summit match. In the shootout at the time, Sandhu had also produced a significant stop.</p>
<p>Sunil Chhetri, the team’s captain, Sandesh Jhingan, Chhangte, Subasish Bose, and Mahesh all scored goals for India, but Udanta Singh missed.</p>
<p>Kuwait had a modest advantage before the dramatic shootout as they pushed forward for goals often in the first half.</p>
<p>In the 14th minute, the tenacity produced the desired outcome. Abullah Al Bloushi was let free on the left flank by Mobarak Al Faneeni’s superb pass. With an excellent cross into the box from Al Bloushi, Shabaib Al Khaldi was able to beat India goalkeeper Sandhu and give Kuwait a 1-0 lead.</p>
<p>Within a minute, India had a chance to tie the game, but Kuwaiti goalkeeper Abdul Rahman stopped Chhangte’s long range shot.</p>
<p>The AIFF Men’s Player of the Year, Chhangte, was not to be denied a second time, however, as he scored in the 39th minute.</p>
<p>Sahal Abdul Samad and captain Chhetri exchanged beautiful passes until the latter came across an unmarked Chhangte in the middle of the box. Chhangte, the tenacious No. 12 for India, easily defeated Abdul Rahman to score the equalizer.</p>
<p>It somewhat made up for Chhetri’s inability to score during regulation time for the second straight game.</p>
<p>As India and Kuwait looked to claim the victory, the action flowed thick and fast in the second half.</p>
<p>The match entered extra time for the second time in a row for both teams, however neither team was able to score their respective second goals.</p>
<p>Both teams engaged in frantic activity throughout the extra time. A few people were hurt, both teams’ players and officials received yellow cards, and there were several corners.</p>
<p>But when the game-winning goal failed to materialize, a penalty shootout was required to determine the victor.</p>

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