The Blue Tigers have registered their second win of the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 with a win over Vanuatu last day. India’s captain, Sunil Chhetri, scored the winner of the game, the most memorable moment of the match as the goal was a dedication and announcement that Junior Chhetri was on his way.
But, the real hurdle comes up in the name of Lebanon who are ranked 99 according to FIFA, two place above the blues who are currently placed at 101. Blue tigers have officially sealed their place in the finals grabbing 6 points from their first two games where Mongolia, with their resilient defending has managed to drew with Lebanon last game placing them on second place behind the blues with 4 points.
It will be a two-way fight between Lebanon and Mongolia to become the the second finalist of Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023. The final is scheduled to be played at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar on June 18, 7.30pm which will be a nail-biting finale for the tournament.
W – W – W – W – L
D – W – L – L – L
The Blues are on a high note when they set their boots in home soil. It has been a massive journey for the Blue Tigers as they are yet to lose a home game for about two years now. The home advantage is vitalizing the squad steadying on a four-game winning run on home soil keeping them one foot ahead of their opponent.
Lebanon is currently not having a good time having lost three International friendlies before coming to India. Serbian coach, Aleksander Ilic who was appointed in August 2022 who didn’t have enough time with the squad which is backfiring on them as a whole.
Both teams have qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2023, Qatar, where the Blue Tigers finished as group winners in third round and Lebanon booked their place in second round itself as runners up behind South Korea. The coinciding factor among both teams is the lack of good finishing players who can find the back of net. Apart from Sunil Chhetri, there is no other player who can be trusted to score whereas the reds are depending on Hassan Maatouk who is nation’s all time top scorer and capped player with 21 goals in 103 games.
Head to Head Records
The Cedars evidently have the advantage over the Blues in head-to-head where they won three games against the Blue Tigers, drew two and lost a game. They previously played each other in an International friendly conducted on August 2009.
Probable Starting Line-Up
India – Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Pritam Kotal, Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Jeakson Singh, Apuia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Sunil Chhetri (C)
Lebanon – Ali Al-Sabaa (GK), Hussein Zein, Walid Shour, Jehad Ayoub, Mohammad Al-Hayek, Alee Tneich, Jihad Ayoub, Nader Matar, Soony Saad, Karim Darwiche, Hassan Maatouk (C)
It is gonna be a tightly contested physical game which will test the stamina and composure of both teams till the final whistle. Three players from both teams are in the scoring chart respectively but both teams are in the same track of not being able to find the scoring boot at the right time to bury the game. It will be an evenly contested game where one who maintains the balance will find the target.
IFTWC predicts a 0-0 draw for the Blues against The Cedars
The match will kick off on June 15, 7.30 PM at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar following the game between Mongolia and Vanuatu. The game will be telecasted live on Star Sports Network, Disney+ Hotstar, and JioTV.
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