SAFF Championship 2013 starts this Saturday with India opening their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday. Sportskeeda continues the build-up and this time we look back at the last edition in 2011. Hosts India triumphed to lift their record sixth title but it was far from a straightforward victory.
India opened their campaign with a surprise 1-1 draw against Afghanistan and the result raised question marks about their potential of wining the trophy on home soil.
However, India bounced back in their second game with a 5-0 hammering of minnows Bhutan with wide midfielder Clifford Miranda and star striker Sunil Chhetri bagging braces.
India booked their place in the semi-finals with a convincing 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka but finished second in the group behind Afghanistan.
The hosts faced Maldives in the last four and looked in trouble when the island nation equalised at the hour mark. However India stepped up when it mattered with Chhetri netting a double to win the game 3-1.
Afghanistan, who defeated Nepal in the other semi-final (see video above), were the opponents in the final and at 0-0 were looking the better side with Indian goalkeeper Karanjit Singh making two vital saves. But the Afghans lost their cool when Singapore referee Sukhbir Singh awarded India a penalty. Afghanistan goalkeeper Hameedullah Yousufzari was sent off with Chhetri converting successfully from the spot-kick despite being asked to take it twice.
The opening goal and the sending off opened the floodgates for India as they ran out 4-0 winners with the much-maligned Savio Medeira becoming the first person to win the SAFF Championship as a player and as a coach.