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Chhetri scores in FIFA World Cup qualifier but India shocked by defeat to Afghanistan

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FIFA World Cup qualifier: Chhetri scores but India suffer shock defeat against Afghanistan

India suffered a heartbreaking 1-2 loss against Afghanistan in a Round 2 match of FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers in Guwahati. India’s captain Sunil Chhetri scored in his 150th international match, but Afghanistan managed to score two late goals, sealing the victory.

Chhetri’s historic goal came off a penalty kick in the 38th minute, giving India a 1-0 lead at halftime. However, Afghanistan bounced back as Rahmat Akbari equalized in the 70th minute, and Sharif Mukhammad converted a penalty in the 88th minute to secure the win.

The loss leaves India with just four points from four matches in the four-team Round 2 group. While Qatar leads the group with nine points, Afghanistan also has four points. India now faces a tough challenge ahead, with matches against Qatar and Kuwait to determine their fate in the qualifiers.

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Despite creating opportunities throughout the match, India failed to capitalize on their chances, ultimately coming up short against Afghanistan. Chhetri’s goal marked his 94th international goal and a milestone in his career, but it was overshadowed by India’s defeat on home turf.

Chhetri’s goal also highlighted his consistency in milestone matches, having scored in his first, 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th, and now 150th international appearances. However, India’s hopes for progressing to the next round of qualifiers now hang in the balance following this disappointing result.

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