Match Preview – India Battles Lebanon For Third-Place In King’s Cup


Despite being up against the odds, as they were ranked twenty-nine places lower than Iraq in the FIFA rankings, India gave a strong account of themselves when they faced the former on Thursday. Despite missing some key regular players like Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte, India managed to take the lead twice against Iraq. However, Iraq equalized with two penalty kicks, resulting in a 2-2 draw after ninety minutes. In the ensuing penalty shootout, the only player to miss a spot-kick from either side was Brandon Fernandes, which led to Iraq securing their place in the King’s Cup final.


On the other hand, Lebanon‘s hopes were dashed in the 87th minute of their match against Thailand, as they were tied 1-1 until that late moment. Teerasil Dangda’s crucial header for Thailand secured their victory and a spot in the finals against Iraq. Earlier in the game, an unfortunate own goal by Jihad Ayoub had given Thailand the lead, but Bassel Jrardi had managed to level the score for Lebanon.

The defeated teams, India and Lebanon, will now compete for the bronze medal, while Thailand and Iraq will vie for the title.

India and Lebanon’s Recent Form

In 2023, the Indian Football Team has maintained an unbeaten record, excluding the result of the recent penalty shootout. They have secured victory in three consecutive tournaments. The winning streak began with the Tri-Nation Series, where they emerged victorious against teams such as Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan. Subsequently, they faced Mongolia, Vanuatu, and Lebanon twice, remaining undefeated to claim the Intercontinental Cup.

They continued their success at the SAFF Championships, where they triumphed over Pakistan, Nepal, Kuwait, Lebanon (once more), and Kuwait in the finals, ultimately lifting the coveted trophy. Under Igor Stimac’s leadership, the team has displayed remarkable form in 2023, and they will aim to maintain this performance throughout the remainder of the year.


Meanwhile, Lebanon has had a relatively modest performance in 2023. They suffered defeat against Oman in a friendly match held in Muscat earlier this year. In the Intercontinental Cup, their sole victory came against Vanuatu, with two goalless draws against Mongolia and India, culminating in a 2-0 loss to the Blue Tigers in the finals. Their SAFF Championships campaign also ended in disappointment with a loss to India. Although they had previously enjoyed a three-game winning streak against Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Maldives, India halted their winning momentum and secured their place in the finals.

Head-to-Head Record

India clashed with Lebanon three times this year, emerging without defeat in all three encounters. They secured a 2-0 win over Lebanon in the Intercontinental Cup final in Bhubaneshwar, with goals courtesy of Chhetri and Chhangte. Earlier in the same tournament, they had played to a goalless draw during the group stages. They met again in the SAFF Championship semis, where the match ended 0-0 after ninety minutes, but India triumphed in the penalty shootout. Chhetri, Anwar Ali, Mahesh Singh, and Udanta successfully converted their penalties for India, while Hassan Maatouk and Khalil Bader missed theirs, handing India the victory and a spot in the finals.


Probable Lineups

India XI – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Akash Mishra, Nikhil Poojary, Anirudh Thapa, Jeakson Singh, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Sahal Abdul Samad, Ashique Kuriniyan, Manvir Singh

Lebanon XI – Mostapha Matar, Kassem El Zein, Walid Chour, Hussein Zein, Soony Saad, Ali Tneich, Nader Matar, Hassan Srour, Hassan Maatouk, Bassel Jradi, Hilal El-Helwe

IFTWC’s Prediction

Igor Stimac’s team has a proven ability to persevere, and they are expected to demonstrate this once again when they go up against Lebanon tomorrow. Lebanon, who have suffered two consecutive losses and a draw to the Blue Tigers, will be under pressure as they step onto the field against India. IFTWC predicts a victory for India, which would mark their third consecutive win against Lebanon.

The India vs Lebanon game will be played on September 10th, 4.00 pm IST at the 700th Anniversary Stadium, Chiang Mai, Thailand which will be shown live on Eurosport TV and streamed on FIFA Media Plus TV.

Follow IFTWC for more news on Indian football

Anurag Guha
Anurag Guha
Loves Indian Football and cars that go vroom vroom

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