A late strike by Sunil Chhetri handed India the 1-0 win over Nepal in the SAFF Championship 2021 Group Stage, at the National Football Stadium in Male, Maldives.India started off on the front foot, winning their first corner of the match as early as in the third minute. The Nepali defence was up to the task though, as they cleared the ball that was swung in by Brandon Fernandes. India had launched most of their attacks down the right-wing, but as the clock neared the half-hour mark. The score was 0-0 till halftime. With eight minutes of regulation time left on the clock, it was none other than captain Sunil Chhetri, who broke the deadlock. Substitute Farukh Choudhary headed an aerial through ball by Brandon onto Chhetri’s path, as the India captain volleyed it home with his left foot. India maintained their solitary goal lead and their first match of SAFF Championship. This was his 77th international goal equalling Pele's record. He is now joint third with UAE's Ali Mabkhout in the list of highest scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo 112 and Lionel Messi 79. India will still need to win their final round-robin league match on Wednesday against hosts Maldives if they have to make it to the final. A draw against Nepal would have put India on the verge of elimination.With this win, India are now in the third spot on the Group table with five points, just one behind Maldives and Nepal, both of whom have acquired six points each.