India suffer 1-2 loss to Afghanistan in FIFA World Cup Qualifier as Sunil Chhetri’s 150th game goes in vain


India and Afghanistan players.
Image Source : PTI India and Afghanistan players.

India suffered a heart-breaking 1-2 loss to Afghanistan in their reverse fixture of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday, March 26. Captain Sunil Chhetri’s 150th International game went in vain as the Blue Tigers conceded the match despite leading for quite some time at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. 

Chettri scored in his 150th game as he converted a penalty kick to hand India a lead in the 37th minute. The hosts went into the break unscathed at 1-0. The Indians looked to double their lead after the half-way time but Manvir failed to clear Azizi and the chance went begging. 

Indian coach Igor Stimac made three changes and two minutes later in the 70th minute, the visitors equalised. Rahmat Akbari outfoxed Rahul Bheke from outside the box and made it 1-1. The momentum shifted and the Afghans then struck back two minutes before the regulation time ended in the 88th minute. This time Sharif Mukhammad converted a penalty as he sent Gurpreet Singh Sandhu the wrong way to make it 2-1 for the visitors.

India’s hopes of reaching the third round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier now hang by a thin thread. They have collected only a point from the two fixtures against Afghanistan. The first game ended in a goalless draw.


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