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2011 SAFF Championship

The 2011 South Asian Football Federation Championship, sponsored by Karbonn Mobiles and officially named Karbonn SAFF Championship 2011, was the ninth edition of SAFF Championship to be held in New Delhi, India. It was originally scheduled to take place in Orissa, India in December 2011, but was switched to New Delhi by the Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation on September 22.

India came in as heavy favorites along with perennial powerhouses Nepal and Maldives. But the story of the first round was the power of the Afghan team. Befitting their moniker, Lions of Khorassan and Stars of Ariana, the Afghan National team shocked defending champions India with a 1-1 draw. Afghanistan went on to defeat previously top ranked Sri Lanka 3-1 on their way to demolishing Bhutan 8-1 cruising on to the second round match against their nemesis Nepal.

The game was a hard contested match, Nepal showed their speed and agility but failed to score due to great saves by Afghan goal keeper Hamidullah Yusufzai. Afghanistan had many shots on goal but luck was not on their side when a Balal Arezou's goal hit the cross bar and bounced just outside the goal line.

With 11 minutes into extera time, Balal Arezou finally connected on a decisive goal that put Afghanistan straight to the 2011 SAFF Championship finals meeting for the 2nd time, host and defending champion India.

Afghanistan startedstong as the very first minute needed a last ditch clearance from Gouramangi Moirangthem after Anthony Pereira gave away the ball and Balal Arezou was through.

The next minute it was Arezou again as he picked up a ball in the second minute from Ghulam Hoddein and his shot from the top of the box was stopped by Karanjit Singh.

Indians were finding it difficult to find their feet as they failed to stitch together a couple of passes inside the opposition half. Gouramangi couldn’t keep pace with Arezou who sent in a ball across the face of the goal which Sanjar Ahmadi just about missed by a yard or so. Around the half way mark of the first half, Yousef Mahsriqi released Arezou in the space between Gouramangi and Mahesh Gawli and the Afghan number nine’s shot was blocked by Karanjit once again.

India’s first real foray forward was when Climax Lawrence’s chip found Clifford Miranda get behind the Afghan defense but the Dempo winger couldn’t control the ball well.

India was second best for most of the first half and couldn’t deal with the pace of their opposition who interestingly had played 120 minutes just a day before.

Near the hour mark that Jeje was allegedly brought down by Faisal Safa inside the box and referee Sukhbir Singh awarded a soft penalty to India. In the aftermath, goalkeeper Hameedullah Yousufzari was given a red card for allegedly pushing the referee. It was an obvious error by referee Sukhbir Singh who tilted the power play from Afghanistan to india by forcing the Afghan team to play one man short for the rest of the game.

After the game was handed over to team India, Afghan coach Yusef Kargar vowed to complain to highest authority about the biased referee.

“In the first half, we played very well. In the second half, the referee gave a mistake penalty which affected the morale of the team. The referee killed the game.

“The referee was partial to us. I don’t know whether he is a Sikh or a Hindu and hence he supported the team.

“We shall write to AFC on the incident as to how such a young and inexperienced referee is officiating the final. His judgment cost us the game.”

In the eyes of the world Afghanistan is the 2011 SAFF Champions.


Group A

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Afghanistan 3 2 1 0 12 3 +9 7
 India 3 2 1 0 9 1 +8 7
 Sri Lanka 3 1 0 2 4 6 −2 3
 Bhutan 3 0 0 3 1 16 −15 0




1 Goal Arezou  5'


1 Goal Chhetri  10
Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: N. A. Mohamed (Malaysia)


Sri Lanka 3 Goal Zain  29' Goal Nipuna  35'65'
 Bhutan  1

Goal Zain  17'

Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Masoud Tufaylieh (Syria)


 Afghanistan 3

Goal Ahmadi  22'36' Goal Yamrali  79'

Sri Lanka  1

Goal Zain  17'

Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Faizullin (Kyrgyzstan)


 Bhutan  0  
India  5

Goal Nabi  29' Goal Clifford  44'58' Goal Chhetri  69'84'

Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Sukhbir Singh (Singapore)


 Bhutan  1

Goal Chencho  22'

 Afghanistan 8

Goal Yamrali 4' Goal Amiri 10' Goal Arezou 15'18'46+2'83' Goal Sharityar 48' (P) Goal Mashriqi 60'

Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Nivon Robesh (Sri Lanka)


India 3

Goal Jeje  50' Goal Chhetri  70' Goal Bandara  90+3'

Sri Lanka  0  
Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Faizullin (Kyrgyzstan)

Group B

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Maldives 3 1 2 0 4 2 +2 5
   Nepal 3 1 2 0 3 2 +1 5
 Pakistan 3 0 3 0 1 1 0 3
 Bangladesh 3 0 1 2 1 4 −3 1

Knockout stage

  Semi-finals Final
9 December — New Delhi
  Maldives 1  
  India 3  
11 December — New Delhi
      India 0*
    Afghanistan 0*
* Sabotaged
9 December — New Delhi
  Afghanistan 1  
  Nepal 0    



India 3

Goal Chhetri  70', 90'+1 Goal Nabi  24'

Maldives  1

Goal Shamweel  60'

Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Faizullin (Kyrgyzstan)


 Afghanistan 1

Goal Arezou 101

 Nepal 0  
Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Masoud Tufaylieh (Syria)



 Afghanistan 0


India 0  
Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Referee: Sukhbir Singh


Goal Scorers

  Player Goals
Balal Arezou 6
Sunil Chhetri 6
Sanjar Ahmadi 2
Ata Yamr Ali 2
Zohaib Islam Amiri 1
Mohammad Mashriqi 1
Djelaludin Sharityar 1
      Balal Arezou

Watch Highlites of every Afghan Match:

Afghanistan v. India  Afghanistan v. Sri Lanka  Afghanistan v. Bhutan  Afghanistan v. Nepal  Afghanistan v. Team

Team Roster

1 Shamsuddin Amiri  Goalkeeper    13 Ghulam Niazi Midfielder
1 Hamidullah Yousufzai  Goalkeeper    14 Yousef Samy  Defender 
2 Basir Admad Saadat  Defender    14 Masood Hashemi  Midfielder
3 Zohib Islam  Goalkeeper    15 Hadid Mustafa  Striker
3 A Zohib Amiri Midfielder   16 Djelaluddin Shrityar  Defender 
4 Qudratullah Hussaini  Defender    17 Harez Arian Habib  Midfielder
5 Ali Ahmad YARZADA  Defender    18 Emal Gariwal  Goalkeeper 
5 Zakria Rezai  Striker   18 Haroon Fakruddin  Defender 
6 Mohd. Ibrahim Jebran  Midfielder    18 Ahmad Hatifie  Midfielder
7 Israfeel Kohistani  Midfielder    19 Yusuf Barak  Defender 
8 Sayed Bashir Azimi  Midfielder    19 Masiullah Barakzai  Midfielder
8 M Yousef Mashriqi  Midfielder    20 Waheed Ahmad  Midfielder
9 Belal Arezou  Striker   20 Obaidullah Karimi  Striker
9 Hamidullah Rastagar  Striker   21 Mujtaba Faiz  Defender 
10 Sandjar Ahmadi  Striker   21 Ata M. Yamrali  Midfielder
10 Hafizullah Qadami  Striker   22 Bashir Darman  Goalkeeper 
11 Maqadar Qazizadah  Defender    22 Abdul Saboor Aser  Striker
11 Hashmatullah Barkezai  Midfielder   Sayed Bashir  Midfielder
12 M. Salem Nahemi  Midfielder    Saboor Khalil  Midfielder
13 Faisal Sakhi Zada  Defender    Ali Hazara  Striker
        Yusuf Kargar Manager/Coach


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