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Afghanistan defeats India with 2-1 victory in FIFA World Cup qualifier match

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HT Digital,

Guwahati, March 26: In a highly anticipated football showdown hosted in Guwahati, Afghanistan staged a remarkable comeback, seizing a 2-1 victory from India in a match that left fans astounded and the Blue Tigers’ hopes for advancing to the third round of qualifiers hanging by a thread.

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Despite a promising start and a milestone goal from Sunil Chhetri in his 150th appearance, India succumbed to Afghanistan’s relentless pressure, ultimately conceding defeat. As the clock ticked into five minutes of added injury time, India desperately sought an equalizer, but Afghanistan’s defense stood strong, clinching a historic win.

The pivotal moment of the match came when Afghanistan was awarded a penalty after Gurpreet fouled a player inside the box, leading to Sharif Mukhammad capitalizing on the opportunity and giving Afghanistan the lead. Chhetri, India’s iconic captain, momentarily revived hopes with a goal from the penalty spot in his landmark 150th game. However, it wasn’t sufficient to secure victory. Throughout the match, Afghanistan displayed resilience and determination, bouncing back from an early setback to secure a significant win on Indian soil.

Despite India’s domination of possession and aggressive play, penetrating Afghanistan’s resolute defense proved challenging, thwarting numerous goal-scoring opportunities. The substitution of Chhetri in the second half marked a turning point, with India struggling to maintain momentum in his absence, allowing Afghanistan to exploit defensive lapses.

At halftime, India held a precarious 1-0 lead courtesy of Chhetri’s penalty, but the match remained finely balanced, with Afghanistan posing a constant threat on the counterattack. With this defeat, India’s aspirations for advancing to the third round of qualifiers have been severely dampened, as they now face an uphill battle to secure crucial points in the remaining matches.

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The lineup for Afghanistan included Ovays, Mahboob, Amiri, Sharif, Askar, Mosawer Ahadi, Rahmat Akbari, Jabar Sharza, Taufee Skandari, Zelfagar, and Omid. Meanwhile, India fielded Gurpreet (GK), Bheke, Subhasish, Anwar, Jeakson, Manvir, Brandon, Chhetri, Colaco, Ralte, and Nikhil.

Despite India’s valiant effort, Afghanistan emerged victorious, highlighting the unpredictable nature of football and the formidable challenges that lie ahead for the Blue Tigers in their quest for qualification.

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