India wins against Lebanon in penalties to reach the final of the SAFF Championship

India defeated Lebanon 4-2 on penalties after it ended goalless post extra time, in the semi-final of the SAFF Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday, July 1, 2023, to book their spot in the summit clash of the competition.

Nader Matar had the opportunity to put Lebanon in the lead in the first minute itself, after being played into the six-yard box. His volley, however, lacked any semblance of control, and flew off into the Bengaluru night.

The Blue Tigers soon altered their system, pushing Jeakson Singh back between the two centre-backs. More importantly, it was when they were out of possession that they really tightened the screws on Lebanon, pressing high with captain Sunil Chhetri.

India came closest to taking the lead with three minutes of regulation time left, when a dangerous corner by Mahesh struck Zein on the head and the ball proceeded to crash into the woodwork. The game went into ET but the score still remained the same.

Gurpreet saved the first Lebanon penalty by Maatouk, giving the Indian penalty takers the confidence to put their spot-kicks into the back of the net. Chhetri, Anwar, Mahesh and Udanta converted their first four penalties for India, while Walid Shour and Mohamad Sadek netted their kicks for Lebanon. Khalil Bader sent the fourth and last penalty for Lebanon into the stands, sending India into the final.