India produced a dramatic 2-1 victory against Afghanistan in their second match of Group D in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2023 at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday with Sunil Chhetri and Sahal Abdul Samad scoring in the 86th and 90+2nd minute respectively, either side of an equaliser.
It looked like neither team would be able to break the deadlock on the night but then, it was Sunil Chhetri, who once again came up with the goal. India won a free-kick on the edge of the box courtesy Ashique Kuruniyan who was brought down in the 84th minute. Sunil Chhetri stepped up and curled the ball past the wall and into the back of the net to send the crowd into wild celebrations.
However, those celebrations were short-lived as in the 88th minute, Afghanistan equalised when a corner for them found Zubayr Amiri unmarked at the near post who came up with a thumping effort.
In the 89th minute, immediately after the equaliser, Chhetri and Manvir Singh were brought off, while Udanta Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad came on. Ashique was a constant menace for the Afghanistan defence throughout the game and he was also responsible for Omid Musawi being booked in the 90th minute. However, his biggest contribution was yet to arrive.
With Afghanistan too seeking the winner, there was space to exploit for India. After some pinball stuff at the edge of the box in stoppage time, the ball fell to Ashique. With defenders closing down on him, he slipped in a scintillating through ball for Sahal Abdul Samad who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner from a tough angle to give India all three points amid ecstatic scenes at the VYBK Stadium.
With this win, India moves level on points with Hong Kong, with both teams tied on 6 points in Group D.
Here’s a look at the reactions from India’s late dramatic win against Afghanistan: