2015 SAFF Championship final: Player Ratings for India
In an enthralling encounter to round off the SAFF Cup, India came from behind to defeat a highly resilient and spirited Afghan side 2-1 to claim the trophy for the seventh time. Sunil Chhetri was once again the hero, as the captain scored the winner in the first half of extra time after Jeje Lalpekhlua had canceled out Zubayd Amiri’s opener.
Here’s a look at how each player fared for India.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu – 6.5
He is becoming more assured with every game he plays for the Blue Tigers. Today was no different as Gurpreet was largely commanding while coming out to catch crosses. He had a minor blip in the second half when he spilled a cross, but he redeemed himself immediately with a fantastic follow-up save.
Pritam Kotal – 6
Nothing spectacular from the man put in at right back but it was a very assured performance with no errors. Some would say he might have contributed more in attack but it was a solid defensive performance.
Arnab Mondal – 7
Arnab lived up to his billing as the leader of the back four and the most experienced defender in the side. He ensured that the side kept its shape, especially in the first half, as the Indians had to deal with waves of Afghan attacks. But he was lucky to not concede a penalty for handling the ball in the box in the dying moments.
Augustin Fernandez – 7
Along with Arnab, Augustin ensured that there were no gaps in the defence. He dealt with the threat of both Zubayd Amiri and Khaibar Amani pretty well.
Narayan Das – 7
A very good performance from the 22-year-old left back. He managed to get forward on occasions as well and nearly caught out Owais Azizi in the second half with a chip, although that was probably meant to be a cross.
Rowlin Borges – 6.5
Rowlin will probably go down as India’s biggest find from this tournament. He kept the ball moving in midfield and ensured that Afghanistan’s talisman Faisal Shayesteh did not get too much time on the ball. He did make some stray passes as the game wore on, though, and some of those could have been dangerous on another day.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh – 6
Lyngdoh was another player who put in a proper workmanlike performance. It was important that Lyngdoh kept India’s play moving, and he did just that. One thing striking was his ability to pick out the simplest of passes and play them without a fuss.
Bikash Jairu – 7
Some more quality on the ball and India might well have had a few more goals. But Jairu’s work rate cannot be faulted as he kept galloping down the flank to ensure that the Afghan full backs could not get into crossing positions.
Holicharan Narzary – 7
Like Jairu, Narzary’s quality on the ball let him down on a few occasions. But like the whole team, he worked his heart out for the cause. It was his cross that found Chhetri who assisted Jeje’s goal.
Sunil Chhetri – 9
What can you say about this man? A talisman for the country for a long time now, but the enthusiasm is that of a bubbling teenager. He set up Jeje’s equalizer and deservedly got the winner. Despite 120 minutes in humid conditions, it seemed like he could have kept running for another hour if needed.
Jeje Lalpekhlua – 8.5
Jeje continued his good form from the ISL into this tournament. Following his brace in the semi-final against Maldives, he was bright again in this game. He hit the woodwork twice before slotting Chhetri’s header past Azizi.
Pronay Halder – 6
He came on early in the first half of extra time for Lyngdoh and did what he always does – hurrying the opposition into making mistakes. He was over-eager sometimes, but he played a good foil for Rowlin when the latter seemed to be tiring.
Aiborlang Khongjee – 5.5
He came on to replace Arnab Mondal with five minutes to go and conceded a needless free-kick, which led to him being booked and getting a right ticking off from Stephen Constantine.
Sanju Pradhan – N/A
Pradhan came on with barely a minute to play.
Images courtesy of SAFF