India are set to face the Maldives for their final matchday in the group stages of the SAFF Championship. The Maldives, who are currently leading the table, have won two out of the three games played in the championship. They lost one-nil to Nepal in the first match and secured two straight wins and a clean sheet against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
India did not have a great start to the championship, drawing with Bangladesh and a bottom-ranked Sri Lanka. However, the Blue Tigers took home all 3 points against then table-toppers Nepal in their most recent game to keep their championship dreams alive. The late goal also prompted a little celebratory dance from coach Igor Stimac who had previously come under negative criticism.
The goal scored was a late one from Captain Sunil Chhetri, equalling his record of achieving 77 international goals in men’s football with that of Brazilian football legend Pele.
Head to head
The Blue Tigers have faced the Maldives twenty times, winning 14 matches, losing 4 and drawing on 2 occasions.
India- Gurpreet (GK), Pritam, Mandar, Bheke, Sana, Apuia, Thapa, Brandon, Manvir, Yasir, Chhetri
Maldives- Shafeeu, Yoosuf, Samooh, Ghanee, Hassan, Nihaan, A. Ibrahim, Mahudhee, A Fasir, Mohamed, Ashfaq
The game is going to be an intense one. The Maldives will be looking to build on their success. India need to be more clinical on the pitch. They have not been good at converting opportunities and heavily rely on their talismanic skipper, Sunil Chhetri. The last game, however, showed that the men in blue are ready to fight till the end. It is hoped that their resilience and motivation off the recent win should guide them to another victory at the SAFF tournament.
Venue – Maldives National Football Stadium
Time – 9:30 pm IST
Telecast – Eurosport, Jio TV
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