Talisman Sunil Chettri, with his 80th International strike, made India win SAFF Championship 2021 against Nepal to win the 8th title.
India showed their domination in the regional tournament, thanks to second-half goals from Sahal Abdul Samad (90th minute), Suresh Singh (50th minute) and Sunil Chhetri (49th minute). The talisman Captain strike made him the second-highest goalscorer in international football among active players. Saha and Suresh then added to the tally and paved the way for India victory.
First Victory Under Igor Stimac
India dominated possession in the first half of the game but failed to break the deadlock. Sahal took the tally to 3-0 when he dribbled past few defenders after receiving the ball on the left side at the stroke of the final call. This is the first victory of the Indian Football team under the coach Igor Stimac who faced criticism recently for his inability to make India win enough games in the past.
Igor Stimac also became the third foreign coach after Jiri Pesek and Stephen Constantine (2015) to clinch the title with Indian Team. Chhetri gave India the lead after he charged a great header, leaving the Nepalese goalkeeper stunned. In a minute, a new goal made it inside the net by Suresh. With these two quick strikes, India tried very hard for more strikes, but Sahal made the team proud with his solo effort in the end as reported by The Times of India.
India also had one more advantage over the Himalayan country as historical and recent statistics favoured Stimac's side to lift the title once again. India ended it in style against the first time finalists. The final was the 12th for Indian Team in 13 editions showing the domination of the Blue Tigers in this regional tournament.