Balal Arezo gave Afghanistanthe lead in the 5th minute thanks to an
error by the Indian defense. The Indian team did not buckle under the pressure of conceding so soon and got their equalizer in the tenth minute when Sunil Chhetri headed in of a corner taken by Steven Dias.
India had a chance to take the lead in the 27th minute, but Clifford Miranda headed wide off a Steven Dias cross and the score remained at 1-1. India were lucky not to go down 2-1 in the 39th minute; Afghan captain Haroon Fakhruddin delivered a nice throughball to Arezo and he could have slotted home but Gouramangi and Karanjit managed to foil his attempt.
The score remained 1-1 at Half Time with both teams creating equal number of chances.
India started the second half with a corner by Steven and a resulting header by Syed Rahim Nabi in the 47th minute. But the Afghan keeper Hameedullag Yousufzai showed some good reflexes and saved Nabi’s attempt.
On the other side Djelaludin Sharityar’s long-range attempt in the 49th minute took a dangerous deflection and missed the target just by inches.
Sunil Chhetri missed a sitter for India in the 55th minute. The striker received a well-timed cross from skipper Climax Lawrence from the right flank. Sunil got past Afghan defender Moqadar Faizullah and volleyed the ball over the crossbar from a short distance.
Jeje Lalpekhlua had a chance to score in the 86th minute but his shot was well punched by the Afghan goalkeeper. The Afghan team played some nice passing football and almost pulled off a shocking win over the defending champions but goalkeeper Karanjit Singh puled off a brilliant save to keep Masood Hasmi’s shot put of the net.
The match was the third straight draw in the SAFF Championship so far.
The Indian team will face Bhutan in their second SAFF Championship 2011 match on Monday.
1-Karanjit Singh; 14-Mahesh Gawli, 16-Samir Subash Naik, 19-Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, 22-Syed Rahim Nabi; 8-Climax Lawrence [C], 15-Clifford Rayes Miranda (88′ 20-Lalrindika Ralte), 23-Steven Benedic Dias (66′ 12-Anthony Pereira), 21-Rocus Lamare; 10-Jeje Lalpekhlua, 11-Sunil Chhetri
1-Hameedullag Yousufzai; 2-Moqadar Faizullah, 3-Haroon Fakhrudin [C], 4-Faisal Safa, 7-Mohammad Esrafi, 8-Mohammad Yusef Mashriqi, 9-Balal Arezo, 10-Sanjar Ahmadi (90′+1′ 11-Hashmat M. Jan), 16-Djelaludin Sharityar, 18-Ahmad Arash Hatifle (72′ 6-Massod Hashmi), 20-Waheed Ahmad (62′ 19-Masalullah Ibrahim)