Football can be cruel. While bringing euphoria to one team, it also brings gloom to the other. However, many times this loss can become even more unbearable depending on the stakes and circumstances. Before the final match between India and Afghanistan, let’s review some of the most heartbreaking moments in SAFF Championship 2013.
1) Nepal bows out from the tournament amidst huge home crowd :
Nepal, in recent times, has been blessed with one of the best home supports among SAFF nations, with hugely passionate fans. With Nepal hosting this edition of SAFF, the expectations rose sky high. ANFA made sure that the team gets good training and left no stones unturned. Nepal played well too, with the highlight being defeating India in the group stages. However, the 25,000 vocal Nepali home supporters had to digest a 0-1 loss against Afghanistan, which also meant that Nepal bowed out of the tournament.
2) Rohit Chand’s dual penalty miss :
Rohit Chand’s spot kick could have given Nepal the equalizer against Afghanistan in the semi final. His shot was saved, but Nepal got a new life when the referee asked to re-take the shot. Rohit Chand’s second shot, under immense pressure, was even weaker and was saved. The missed penalty turned out to be decisive as Nepal bowed out of SAFF championship, losing the semi final 0-1.
Rohit Chand, Nepal’s celebrated player, turned into a fallen angel overnight, abuses were hurled against him by fans. According to Givemegoal.com, Chand later said,
“I was the man with maximum pain because I was the one who wiped entire country. No player was able to sleep that night. We talked whole night about the match but we could not fall asleep.”
3) Sunil Chhetri denies Bangladesh a victory with a injury time freekick goal :
Sunil Chhetri might have not live upto his reputation in this edition of SAFF Championship, but his brilliant free kick, under pressure, denied Bangladesh a historic victory, who last won against India 10 years ago. In a game where both sides exhibited poor football, Bangladesh took the lead in 82nd minute. India, however, got a free kick just outside the box in the last minute of injury time. In what could have been almost the last kick of the game, Sunil Chhetri kept his cool and curled the kick in the Bangladesh net.
4) 15 year old Bimal Magar’s late equalizer denies full points to Pakistan :
Pakistan was not considered a big threat before the tournament had started. However, in there first game they showed that they are no push overs, they lost 0-1 against India in a match which many consider Pakistan to have been the better team. In the next match against Nepal, Pakistan took the lead and kept it 1-0 till 90 minutes. However, Nepal’s highly rated striker, 15 year old Bimal Magar, scored an opportunistic goal in the injury time. With the advantage of hindsight, one can say that the goal took out Pakistan from the SAFF Championship.
5) Bangladesh ‘injured’ twice due to injury time goals :
Bangladesh may not have displayed very impressive football, but they have shown that they are no pushovers as well. After losing the first game 0-2 against Nepal, they displayed a gritty performance against India and took the lead in 82nd minute. However, Sunil Chhetri’s goal in injury time denied them full points. In their last game against Pakistan, they took the lead in 30th minute, Pakistan soon made it 1-1. However, it remained 1-1 till late, and again in the injury time Bangladesh conceded a goal and failed to secure any points.