‘India conceded the goal not Anwar’: Sunil Chhetri on Kuwait's late equaliser at SAFF Championship
Not just Sunil Chhetri but Indian supporters present at the venue also graced the prodigy with “Anwar Ali” chants after the match.
India and Kuwait engaged in an enthralling 1-1 draw in the final Group A tie of the SAFF Championship 2023 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The Blue Tigers produced yet another impressive performance and just when it felt that India will end the contest with a positive result, an own goal by centre-back Anwar Ali forced the match into a draw.
India broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime when a corner coming from the right landed perfectly for an unmarked Sunil Chhetri inside the D, who then found the back of the net with a perfectly timed volley.
The second half saw tensions flare in both camps as India head coach was shown his second red card of the tournament. The trouble continued and Rahim Ali and Kuwait's Hamad Al Qallaf were also given their marching orders in the 90th minute.
Kuwait then found an equaliser in the stoppage time as a low cross coming from the right took a deflection from Anwar's leg and settled in the far corner of the post, leaving Amrinder Singh with no chance of saving the ball.
Chhetri, India's captain, was disappointed with the outcome but backed his teammate and defender Anwar. He said an error such as this can happen to anyone. On being asked to share his thoughts on Anwar conceding the goal in injury time, the captain said: “It's not Anwar, it is the country that conceded.”
“It can happen to anyone. We didn't even talk about it now (after the match) and we are all professional enough to not talk about it. I hope the kid shrugs it off, we all have his back as it can happen to anyone,” he added.
Chhetri stated the team doesn't take technical mistakes seriously and showed confidence in his teammate to bounce back stronger.
“Technical mistakes are something that we don't take it too seriously, we just work on our effort. Sometimes I have missed some silly goals that I shouldn't have missed, somebody's going to make a silly challenge and we'll get a penalty. It happens in football. So technical mistake is something that we don't take too seriously. I'm pretty sure he's going to work on it and it's gone. India conceded the goal not Anwar,” the captain said, who now has 92 international goals under his name.
Not just Chhetri but Indian supporters present at the venue also graced the prodigy with “Anwar Ali” chants after the match.
Sharing his thoughts on the encounter and the outcome, Chhetri said the team successfully executed their plans up to certain extent. But he admitted that conceding a goal in the stoppage time was a bitter pill to swallow.
"To a large extent we could do exactly what we had trained. They are not an easy side, this team can play and we could see that but we matched the energy for majority of the time. I think we did well.
“The feeling right now comes from mind is a feeling of loss because at the last moment we conceded that goal. But I'm pretty sure we did a lot of good things when he watch the video and analyze we will come to know better,” he said.