India defeated Kuwait in the final of the SAFF Championship 2023 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru. Al Khaldi scored the goal in the 14th minute to give Kuwait an early lead but Chhangte equalised in the 38th minute for India. The match ended with a 1-1 scoreline and even extra time couldn't change that. India and Kuwait went to decide their fate via penalties where Gurpreet saved the sudden death shot of Kuwait's skipper to win it for India.
Both teams played each other twice in football competitions. The head-to-head stands in favour of Kuwait who won one match back in 2010, while the other match, in the SAFF Championship 2023 ended in a draw.
Stimac can do nothing more than sit in the VIP seats and watch today. But before that, he could be seen hugging each of the Indian players as they made their way out of the bus and into the stadium complex.
The players leave the tunnel and line up for their national anthems.
The Final of the SAFF Championship 2023 begins between India and Kuwait.
Chhetri's header is caught by Marzouq.
Abdullah and Alfaneeni attack against the run of play but Alfaneeni is ruled off-side.
Kuwait are trying to breach the Indian backline but they are standing like a wall.
Kuwait attacks on the counter. Al Feneeni got the ball and passed it to Albloushi, who provided a brilliant cross to Alkhaldi. He was unmarked in the box and he shoots into the net to give Kuwait an early lead.
Chhangte takes a shot from the distance to force a save by Marzouq. The goalkeeper fails to keep the ball in his gloves. Chhetri rushes in to strike on the follow-up. Hajiah clears the ball away for Kuwait.
Kuwait wasted the free kick.
In: Hamad Alharbi, Out: Hasan Alanezi
Jhingan tries to get his head to a free-kick but fouled Alharbi in the process. The referee reaches for the card for the offense—the first booking of the game.
Kuruniyan gets the ball after a poor clearance by Al Dhefeery. He turns and passes to Sunil Chhetri, who gave a pass-through to Sahal. He provided the cross to Chhangte, who slot it in for the equaliser.
Redha Abujabarah gets the first booking for the visitors.
The referee stops play after a rash challenge by Albloushi, who is booked eventually. Aldhefeery aggressively protests the booking and gets a yellow card himself. Seconds later, the coach, Ruoi Bento, is also booked.
The teams are level at 1-1. The team, however, saw one of its defenders, Anwar Ali, being carried out after an injury.
The players are out of the tunnel for the second half.
The second half begins.
Chhangte and Poojary combine for an attack on the right flank but Kuwait stops it with an India throw-in.
Thapa successfully completes his defensive duty. He forces Alqallaf to get the ball out of play.
Jhingan intercepts the pass from Abdullah to clear the ball out of play.
Alwallaf fouled Thapa just when he was reaching the final third. The referee books Kuwait's No. 15.
Ashique & Abdullah received yellow cards.
In: Eid Alrashidi, Out: Al Faneeni
The Blue Tigers are pressing like a machine.
In: Mahesh Singh, Rohit Kumar, Out: Ashique Kuruniyan, Anirudh Thapa
Stimac's men controlling the match at the moment.
9 yellow cards in the match so far.
Jhingan tries to intercept Kuwait's long ball for Alkhaldi but ends up fouling him in the process. The referee resumes play after a verbal warning.
Sahal tries to draw defenders towards himself. He provided a brilliant pass but there are no Indian players to receive the ball.
Alkhaldi takes Kuwait's free-kick which was pretty much wasted.
In: Udanta Singh, Out: Sahal Abdul Samad
Abdullah's right-footed shot for the bottom-left corner was saved by Gurpreet who denies a certain winner for Kuwait.
The match goes into extra time now.
The first half of the Extra time begins with India rolling the ball.
Kuwait's attempt from the set piece was wasted as Jhingan got the ball out of the box and then Poojary cleared it out of danger.
Last minute of extra-time first-half. The teams, just like the previous match, have remained extremely level in every department.
It's still 1-1 between them.
Kuwait gets the second half underway.
Akash Mishra is down and receiving medical attention.
Akash Mishra is still struggling with fitness and India decides to replace him in the last moments, with Subhasish Bose replacing him.
Alfahad tries to get the ball off Rohit Kumar along the left flank and ends up fouling him.
Chhangte's strike Just over the bar
120 Minutes could not decide the winner as the teams enter into the penalties.
India will take the first penalty.
Gurpreet came out as the saviour again. He saved two spot kicks to win the title for the Blue Tigers.