Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SAFF Championship 2011

The SAFF cup 2011 concluded in New Delhi and India were crowned champions for the nth time again. I think we have been winning this competition for years now.  

I could not watch all the group matches but did catch up with some highlights on TV and from the internet.  Speaking of the internet, I should mention that I was pleasantly surprised to see SAFF Championship 2011 channel on youtube. Don’t know who was running it, but whoever it was, kudos to them. 

On the whole it looked like a decently conducted tournament. Due credits to AIFF for arranging the tournament.

Now on to the final. India played a very decent Afghanistan team. AFC had already goofed up by selecting an Indian origin referee for the final. They definitely had other options in front of them and why did they select the Sikh ref from Singapore can only be explained by them.

During the first half, Afghanistan played really well. They did have some good chances which they failed to convert, partly due to their mistake and as Indian goalkeeper karanjit was having a good day on the field.

Second half lumbered on and India was putting up a better show this time around.  Then in the 63rd minute Sayed Rahim Nabi played a ball in to the box and Jeje was tripped in the box. In the ensuing melee, some Afghanistan players almost manhandled the referee and the referee dished out a red card to the Afghani goal keeper. 

There are also some sections who claim that Jeje was fouled outside the penalty box. I have rerun the video so many times and I am convinced, if it is a foul it happened in the box. 

If you watch EPL on tv, you will be familiar with this saying “we have seen this given” and that is exactly what happened. A penalty was awarded and Afghanistan was reduced to ten men. India took the numerical advantage and killed the game by slotting in another three more goals and lifted the cup. 

 I was not at all enthused at the way things turned out in the final. AFC could have selected another referee for the match and could have avoided all the allegations from the Afghani contingent.

Check out goal.com' review of Indian players who appeared in the championship here. I more or less agree with what they have written there.  

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