SAFF Championships: 10-man Bangladesh holds India 1-1 despite Chhetris 76th international goal | Football news

MALE: India allowed a 10-man Bangladesh to come back and score a shock goal after Talisman captain Sunil Chhetri’s 76th international drew 1-1 in Monday’s SAFF Championship opener.
37-year-old Chhetri, who played for India in his 121st game, scored just one goal in the 27th minute behind legendary Brazilian Pele (77 goals from 92 games).

This puts him in fourth place on the list of active footballers’ goalscorers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (111), Lionel Messi (79) and Ali Mabkhout (77) from the United Arab Emirates.
India were the better team in the first half and although they lost the ball many times, they seemed to be on their side. From the 54th minute they also had numerical advantages after the Bangladeshi player Biswanath Ghosh was sent off for a foul on Liston Colaco.
But Igor Stimac’s side failed to stop the Bangladeshis’ swift counterattacks and conceded a goal in the 74th minute to split the points, much to the horror of the Indian camp.
Bangladesh have always been difficult opponents for India, who only needed a late equalizer in the first leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifying in Calcutta before they won the second leg 2-0.
India were in attack mode from the start but a quick counterattack from Bangladesh almost caught them and center-back Chinglensana Singh made a crucial equalizer after Ibrahim whipped a flat cross from the left for Motin Mia.
Bangladesh got some corners too, but India was next with Udanta Singh, who returned after missing two Nepalese friendlies, managed to outsmart their marker and deliver crosses from the flank.
Manvir Singh had a weak head-in from one such cross in the 24th minute, but Chhetri wasn’t the one to miss the other three minutes later. Pritam Kotal released Udanta on the right, who blocked the ball from near the sideline and slammed a perfectly placed chhetri into the top of the net.
Liston Colaco, who made an impressive appearance, shot unsuccessfully at the Bangladesh goal in the 36th minute. Three minutes later, Chhetri had another strong left-footed shot, but goalkeeper Anisur Rahman shot off a save.
India survived a shock in the 40th minute, this time also from a quick counterattack by the Bangladeshi. But goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu parried Biplo Ahmed’s shot to keep India’s lead intact.
Stimac replaced Anirudh Thapa by bringing Brandon Fernandes to the center of the park on resumption, and India also got a numerical advantage after Biswanath Ghosh in 54th place.
However, three minutes earlier, Bangladesh had a chance to equalize, but Rakib Hossain shot wide after being free in the Indian penalty area.
Bangladesh goalkeeper Rahman saved a double save in the 61st minute as he blocked shots from Manvir and Udanta.
Stimac replaced Colaco with Lalengmawia and Udanta with Rahim Ali shortly after an hour. But the Bangladeshi, who will play under a new coach after qualifying for the World Cup in 2022, moved despite being numerically inferior in the 74.
Yasir Arafat sent a header into the Indian goal after a sweeping corner kick.
India will play Sri Lanka in their second round robin league game on Thursday.