New Delhi : Goalkeeper Subrata Paul shouldered India to a sensational 6-5 victory in a shootout over Syria and retain the ONGC Nehru football Cup, they won in 2007, at an overflowing Ambedkar Stadium Mnnday night.
Paul in an amazing display of reflexes and anticipation saved three spot kicks in the
tie-breaker after the two teams failed to score in regulation time and scored once each in the dying minutes of extra time.
Man-of-the-Match Paul, who had an outstanding tournament, blocked shots from Wael Ayan, Ahmad Haj Muhmad and Hamzeh Alattouni.
Paul fisted out the decisive attempt by Alattouni to spark a riotous invasion by a frenzy crowd.
It was a re-match of the 2007 final at the same venue, and both the teams played out exciting football in 90 minutes where they came close to score on numerous occasions.
India appeared to have broken the the deadlock when Renedy Singh scored through a free-kick in the 24th minute of extra time, but Ali Dyab came up with a stupendous header to sink Indian hopes of a clear-cut victory.
In the tie-breaker, Climax Lawrence, Sunil Chettri, Steven Dias, Anwar and Surkumar Singh were on target for India while Raja Rafe, goalkeeper Mosab Balhous, Abdul Fatah Alaga and Abdal Razzak Al Hossian scored for Syria.