PM Modi, Anurag Thakur congratulate Indian football team on SAFF Championship victory
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian football team after their triumph in the SAFF Championship final against Kuwait. Indian team clinched the SAFF Championship title in a penalty shootout as the game ended in a scoreline of 4-4 at the Sri Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium on Tuesday.
"India crowned champions, yet again! The Blue Tigers reign supreme at the #SAFFChampionship2023! Congrats to our players. The Indian Team's remarkable journey, powered by the determination and tenacity of these athletes, will continue to inspire upcoming sportspersons," PM Modi tweeted.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur also took to his Twitter handle to congratulate the Indian team for their victory. "We have done it again! Kudos to the #BlueTigers for holding their nerve in such a gripping encounter with Kuwait in the final & giving a scintillating performance to clinch the #SAFFChampionship for a record th time. India is thrilled on your victory, keep shining!" Thakur wrote in his tweet.
Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made the difference for the Blue Colts once again as he saved a crucial penalty kick in the summit clash to help India beat Kuwait 5-4 in the shootout.
After five rounds of penalty kicks, the scoreline was 4-4 with both sides missing a penalty each and the sudden death rule was kicked off. Mahesh Naorem stepped up and scored for the Indian team.
Sandhu had a difficult challenge in front of him as Kuwait captain Khaled Hajiah stepped in to bring back parity in the scoreline. Sandhu made a diving save to keep Khaled's shot away from the goal line.
As soon as he saved the penalty, he ran and pulled off an animated celebration in front of the home fans. With this win, Indian head coach Igor Stimac becomes the first foreign head coach to win back-to-back SAFF Championship titles. This was also the first time that India defeated two West Asian countries in back-to-back matches, after winning the semi-final against Lebanon, also on penalties.