Kathmandu: India's bid to win a hat-trick of SAFF Football Championship titles went up in smoke on Wednesday as they lost 0-2 to Afghanistan in the final here.
The Afghans, who won their maiden SAFF trophy exacted a sweet revenge for their humiliating 0-4 loss against the same opponents in New Delhi two years back. The winners were helped by strikes from Mustafa Azadzoy (8th minute) and Sanjar Ahmadi (63rd minute). (Afghanistan wins first international football title)
India coach Wim Koevermans's gamble of leaving out regular captain Sunil Chhetri from the starting XI didn't exactly pay off although the efforts from Robin Singh and Jeje Lalpeklhua were praiseworthy. It was their inexperience on big occasion that cost India dearly as they fumbled repeatedly on the opposition's attacking third.