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SAFF Championship: India defeat Kuwait via penalties in final to lift their 9th title

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the hero once again as India defeated Kuwait 5-4 via sudden death penalties in the final to defend the SAFF Championship title at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Tuesday.

After the two teams were tied 1-1 in regulation time of 90 minutes, Sandhu, who was the hero of India’s win over Lebanon in the semifinals via penalties, came up with another brilliant performance as the hosts emerged the winner. With this win, India lifted their 8th title in the SAFF Championship, the most by any nation in the tournament’s history.

The penalty shootout was taken after it was 1-1 at the end of extra time. Shabib Al Khaldi opened the scoring for Kuwait but Lallianzuala Chhangte found the all-important equaliser. 

And it was the experienced Sandhu, who made the match-winning save in the penalties to help India win the game. Udanta Singh missed a penalty for India while Abdullah hit the post for Kuwait. The match went into sudden death and it was Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who saved the penalty from Hajiah to clinch the win.

With this India, who recently rose one place to 100th in the latest FIFA rankings, won their ninth SAFF Championship title in 14 editions. 

This was also India’s second silverware, after clinching the Intercontinental Cup last month.

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