India send Sunil Chhetri into retirement with dull draw with Kuwait, which puts passage to next round of World Cup qualifiers in great danger!

Struggling to get into the game as teammates failed to fashion worthwhile chances, country gets a glimpse of future after talisman.

Jun 7, 2024 - 06:45
Jun 7, 2024 - 06:46
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India send Sunil Chhetri into retirement with dull draw with Kuwait, which puts passage to next round of World Cup qualifiers in great danger!
A teary eyed Sunil Chhetri takes a final lap after the India vs Kuwait FIFA World Cup Qualifier match in Kolkata - his last for India - ends in a 0-0 draw.

An overcast sky over Salt Lake Stadium reflected the sullen mood in the Indian camp as their talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri laced up his boots for one final time in the World Cup qualifier against Kuwait – a match that ultimately ended in 0-0, with India’s dream of qualifying for the next round getting even harder to realise.

As the departing skipper stepped onto the ground for warm-up an hour before the match, the steadily-filling stadium roared its approval. Chhetri, on his part, acknowledged the cheers before joining his teammates for the practice drills.

Even though Chhetri had said the day before the match that of more significance was India’s chance to qualify for the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, something that hadn’t been done in the country’s history, the magnitude of the skipper’s swansong was felt through the crowd assembled to give him a final farewell.

But as Dinesh Karthik had said in a recent video after his retirement after Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s elimination from this year’s Indian Premier League,“ In sport, there are no fairytale endings,” Chhetri’s last match for the Blue Tigers ended with India going further away from the goal of qualifying for the next round.

The emotions that he kept from bubbling over all these days, came out in the form of tears as the Indian players gave him a guard of honour as Chhetri took the final walk from the field into the locker room. The curtains fell for one of the best strikers of the country who rode off into the sunset with 94 goals in 151 matches.

India started with a 4-3-3 formation with Jay Gupta making his senior team debut in place of veteran Subhasish Bose in the centre of defence alongside Anwar Ali, Rahul Bheke and Nikhil Poojary. The back-4 was immediately put under pressure by Kuwait, playing without winger Shabaib Al-Khaldi, with Eid Al-Rashedi leaving Poojary in his wake and sending a perfect through ball to Mohammad Daham, only for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to make an excellent save in the 4th minute of the match.

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Jennifer Winget As a passionate news reporter, I am fueled by an insatiable curiosity and an unwavering commitment to truth. With a keen eye for detail and a relentless pursuit of stories, I strive to deliver timely and accurate information that empowers and engages readers.