SAFF Championship: Sunil Chhetri’s 2-0 victory over Nepal propels India into the semifinals.

India defeated Nepal 2-0 on Saturday, June 24, extending their streak of victories in the SAFF Cup. India’s captain Sunil Chhetri and Mahesh Singh both made goals in the second half of the match to give India a perfect tournament record.

Prior to Mahesh Singh forcing the ball into the net after it bounced off the crossbar in the 70th minute, Chhetri scored his fourth goal of the game in the 61st minute. The India skipper ranks fourth among all-time leading international goal scorers with his 91st goal in 91 international games.

India and Kuwait both advanced from Group A to the semifinals with six points from two wins each. Earlier in the day, Kuwait had also triumphed 4-0 over Pakistan. India and Kuwait will meet on June 27 to determine the group title. Both Nepal and Pakistan lost two games, disqualifying them from the semifinals.

The Indian team did not have an easy game because Nepal, who had a significant impact in the first half of the match, stretched them across the wings. The intensity of the host team was matched by Nepal, who is ranked far lower than India in the FIFA rankings, but their pass quality in the final third let them down. When they should have exploited their opportunity to take shots from right outside the box, Nepal’s attackers were gun shy and passed their way into a metaphorical cul-de-sac.

Bimal Ghatri’s attempt, which Rohit Kumar blocked just outside the goal line in the 34th minute, might have given Nepal a 1-0 lead in the game had he been a little quicker with it.

India showed more energy and resolve in the second half, and in the 61st minute, they were successful. Anjan and Arik Bista’s injuries, which required them to leave the game in the second half, also assisted the squad. With Nepal’s runners missing, India increased the pressure until Sahal Abdul Samad, Sunil Chhetri, and others helped them break.

In the 34th minute, Nepal may have grabbed a 1-0 lead in the game if Bimal Ghatri had been a little quicker with his shot. However, Rohit Kumar was able to deflect it just over the goal line. India played with more vigour and purpose in the second half, and they were successful in the 61st minute.

Sahal’s quickness and talent were highlighted by the second goal. Amid a charge through the middle by the midfielder, Chhetri was found by a pass from Chhetri, but Limbu diverted his shot. The 70th minute saw India take a commanding 2-0 lead, though, when Mahesh Singh was perfectly situated to head the ball into the goal.

Nepal fought valiantly to attempt a comeback despite losing a two-goal advantage. The score remained the same, though, thanks to India.

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