India’s World Cup Hopes Hinge on Final Match After Goalless Draw in Chhetri’s Farewell Game- 2024

India’s World Cup qualifying aspirations took a significant hit with a 0-0 draw against Kuwait at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in a heart-wrenching farewell for Sunil Chhetri.

Despite a resilient effort, India now faces an uphill battle to secure a place in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

India’s World Cup Hopes Hinge on Final Match After Goalless Draw in Chhetri’s Farewell Game- 2024
After playing his last game for India, Sunil Chhetri takes a lap of honor. Photo Credit: Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

There was no triumphant farewell, no inspiring objective to cap off a brilliant career. In his final lap of honour, Sunil Chhetri left behind a 58,921-strong Yuba Bharati Krirangan, his hands crossed, his head bowed, and tears streaming down his cheeks, a scene evocative of so many legendary Indian careers that began and ended in despair.

There is still, albeit slim, hope that India would advance to the FIFA World Cup’s third round. India is aware that opportunities to fulfill a desire and properly bid a legend farewell were lost in a chaotic 0-0 stalemate.

From this point on, it will only become harder. India, who finished second in the group with five points, will now need to defeat Qatar in their last league game, which they have little chance of winning. After the match, India’s coach Igor Stimac remarked, “We knew it would be tough.” “Our matches with Kuwait have all been close. However, we were unable to begin the game today as we had hoped. Aggression in the midst of the park was lacking. and a lack of initial self-confidence.

India’s hopes of moving further on Thursday might have been dashed if it weren’t for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s keen sense of the game. But other than that, it was a sloppy encounter with no upside. “Gurpreet was excellent, but the others weren’t quite as good as we had hoped,” Stimac remarked.

This is where it all could have happened, in the center of Indian football. While not many opportunities presented themselves, some undoubtedly went India’s way. The only clear opportunity to go India’s way came in the 12th minute, when Anwar Ali failed to keep a free header on target following a corner kick by Anirudh Thapa. The first half was chaotic, with Kuwait consistently dismantling the hosts in the midfield. India attempted to shift to the wings, which produced a few interesting strokes.

Only after the break did India’s offensive pick up momentum, with Suresh Anjajim slipping to the side to play defensive midfielder and Igor Stimac substituting Rahim Ali for Thapa and Brandon Fernandes for Sahal. It produced results right away. First, Ali was set up by Fernandes with a piercing through, which he followed through on to reach the top of the box, but his low shot was blocked. Ali had another opportunity two minutes later, and this time he was clear with a long through, but the finish was once more outside the goal.

Kuwait also had its moments. Early in the first half, Eid Al Rashidi made a cutting pass that allowed left-winger Mohammad Abdulah to avoid a sliding challenge from Rahul Bheke but instead run into Sandhu beneath the horizontal. Four minutes later, Abdulah broke through the defense once more, but Sandhu stopped his curving attempt at goal. Kuwait did not have another opportunity to score until the middle of the first half, but Abdulah botched that attempt.

The way most of Kuwait’s passes converged on Abdulah was clear evidence of his overdependence. He slid in a cross to Faisal Al-Harbi at the far post, but Sandhu skillfully parried his low volley, and Yousef Al-Sulaiman speared the rebound over the post. When it came to Kuwait, Abdulah’s free kicks from the center were consistently placed well above the horizontal.

Also Read: Top 50 Lesser-Known Facts about Sunil Chhetri: A Glorious Career

India’s World Cup Hopes Hinge on Final Match After Goalless Draw in Chhetri’s Farewell Game- 2024
Sunil Chhetri sobs following his final India encounter in the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait. Photo Credit: X

However, Kuwait’s mistakes gave India the opportunity to regroup and push through Ali and Fernandes’ younger legs after the interval. Fernandes cleared one corner from the left, then threw in another for Chhetri, but it found Bheke, whose header went straight to Sulaiman Abdulghafoor, the goalie for Kuwait. However, the game frequently appeared to slip into periods of mediocrity since the crucial breakthrough did not materialize.

If Abdulah missed the mark with a good forward pass from Liston Colaco, the ball was hit much above horizontal. Manvir Singh was brought on to give things some impetus, and when Fernandes set him up with a lovely through, it almost worked, but the hardworking Hasan Alanezi stopped the play.

In the last minute, India took a risk by switching Edmund Lalrindika for Gupta, but it didn’t work out as planned as Kuwait cleared a low cross from Fernandes and Manvir’s header from a cross went wide of the goal. When Lalrindka was pulled off the ball, things really got out of hand, and there was a melee on the sidelines. However, this was just a pretext for the true, and often repeated, story of India’s World Cup disappointment.

Also Read: Sunil Chhetri’s International Retirement in 2024: A Historic Farewell of a Glorious Indian Footballer

In the final game against Kuwait, Sunil Chhetri is distraught as his colleagues in India reserve the guard of honor for the legendary goal scorer

During his final international match, Sunil Chhetri received a guard of honour and, when he said goodbye to the Indian football team, he broke down in tears.

At the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, in front of more than 58,000 spectators, Sunil Chhetri said goodbye to international football as Kuwait held India to a scoreless draw. India’s prospects of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup may have been hurt by the outcome, but the supporters temporarily forgot their disappointment when Chhetri completed a lap of the stadium and received a guard of honor from his teammates.

As the players prepared for the guard of honor following the draw against Kuwait, Chhetri couldn’t contain his tears. He was comforted by his colleagues as he made his way through the tunnel to thunderous applause from the Indian spectators.

The 39-year-old appeared to be the youngest player during the game as he raced past his younger teammates in an attempt to increase his record-setting 94 goals scored in his 151st appearance. The record goal scorer for India, though, was not going to have the ideal sendoff as Kuwait dominated the play and had a lot more opportunities than the hosts.

India’s World Cup Hopes Hinge on Final Match After Goalless Draw in Chhetri’s Farewell Game- 2024
Sunil was given guard of honour by his team members. Photo Credit: Northeast Herald

The supporters were yelling “Sunil, Sunil,” “Vande Mataram,” and in the eleventh minute, Liston Colaco broke down the left wing and sent in a low cross, giving him his finest chance of the first half. Chhetri was about to score, but the attempt was foiled by Hasan Alanezi’s sliding clearance.

Sunil Chhetri Ends with 94 International Goals for India

With an incredible 94 goals, Chhetri, now 39, ended his incredible 19-year career playing international football as the fourth-highest goal scorer in the history of the game. With this achievement, he trails only legendary players like Lionel Messi of Argentina (106 goals), Ali Daei of Iran (108 goals), and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (128 goals).

Given the background of Indian football, which has mostly failed to leave its mark during the legendary striker’s career, Chhetri’s accomplishments are all the more remarkable.

Chhetri’s tearful farewell to international football was marked by the presence of his wife Sonam Bhattacharya, parents Kharga and Sushila, and a number of officials and former players, all of whom symbolized the significant influence he has had on Indian football.

A Tribute to India’s Football Icon

Sunil Chhetri, adorned in the iconic blue jersey, takes his final bow in a memorable match against Kuwait, marking the conclusion of his illustrious 19-year journey with the Indian football team.

Chhetri’s farewell at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium was a poignant moment, as fans and fellow players alike paid homage to his remarkable contributions to Indian football. Despite the draw, Chhetri’s legacy shines through in the hearts of millions.

In a match filled with emotions, India faced Kuwait in a must-win encounter. Despite Chhetri’s valiant efforts and Sandhu’s stellar performance, India couldn’t secure a victory. However, the match was a fitting tribute to Chhetri’s extraordinary career.

The stadium pulsated with chants of “Chhetri, Chhetri” as fans and former teammates gathered to celebrate the football maestro. Tifos and banners adorned the stands, capturing Chhetri’s unparalleled impact on Indian football.

Despite India’s early struggles, Chhetri’s determination shone through as he led the team with 14 sprints in the first half. However, Kuwait’s resilient defense and missed opportunities left Chhetri and his fans longing for a fairy-tale ending.

As the final whistle blew, Chhetri stood tall amidst hugs and handshakes from teammates. His emotional farewell lap around the pitch, accompanied by tears and cheers, encapsulated the profound love and admiration for India’s football icon.

As Chhetri bid adieu to the football pitch for the last time, his legacy lives on in the hearts of fans and the annals of Indian football history. His remarkable journey, marked by 94 international goals and 151 appearances, will forever be cherished and celebrated.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *