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Kolkata: A stunning goal from talisman Sunil Chhetri and an injury-time strike from Sahal Abdul Samad powered India to a 2-1 victory over Afghanistan in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers here on Saturday. The win helped India consolidate their position in the group as they seek to make a second straight appearance in the Asian Cup and fifth overall, having been knocked out in the group stage in the last edition in 2019.
India will play their final game of the qualifiers against Hong Kong on June 14
India went a step closer to qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup after Sunil Chhetris 83rd international goal and an injury-time goal by Sahal Abdul Samad helped the Indian football team seal a 2-1 win against Afghanistan in the third-round match in Kolkata on Saturday.
The win helped India consolidate their position in the group as they seek to make a second straight appearance in the Asian Cup and fifth overall, having been knocked out in the group stage in the last edition in 2019.
Denied for 86 minutes, Chhetri put India ahead with a brilliant free-kick from just over 20 yards, taking only a couple of steps before unleashing his shot straight into the right corner of the net beating Afghanistans goalkeeper. It was the Indian superstars 83rd goal in international football as he closed in on second-placed Argentine genius Lionel Messi among active players.
Sunil Chhetri. The man. The myth. The legend.— Abijit Ganguly (@AbijitG) June 11, 2022
Sunil Chhetri Freeckick vs Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/bPK6FjgiFQ— Michael Garryson (@GarrysonMichael) June 11, 2022
Sunil Chhetri and Sahal Abdul Samad.— Aswin K (@NotionsofAswin) June 11, 2022
The former carrying Indian team on his shoulders for so many matches and the latter starting to show his true potential in national colours.
Giving us today a victory to remember.#IndianFootball #AsianQualifiers pic.twitter.com/pZCXBIpVy8
India dominated the match for most parts and ended as the deserving winners. The hosts were coming off a 2-0 win over Cambodia in the opener, while Afghanistan entered the match after losing to Hong Kong.