Indian men’s football team will face Lebanon in their final league-stage match of the Hero Intercontinental Cup at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday having already secured a place in the final of the competition.

The Blue Tigers recorded 2-0 and 1-0 victories over Mongoloia and Vanuatu respectively and will play the final on Sunday. Lebanon will qualify for the title clash with a draw against India but could be vulnerable to elimination if they suffer defeat at the hands of Igor Stimac’s men and Mongolia win big enough to leapfrog Lebanon on goal difference.

For the home side, however, it would be a good opportunity to test themselves against a team ranked higher than them in the FIFA rankings. India don’t have the best record against teams ranked above them in the FIFA charts but will take confidence from their previous match against higher-ranked opposition that they won against Kyrgystan in the Hero Tri-Nation Cup earlier in the year.

Head-to-Head Record

When it comes to the head-to-head record against India, Lebanon holds a significant advantage. This will be the eighth meeting between the two teams. Out of the seven previous matches, the Blue Tigers have only managed to secure one victory, while they have drawn twice and suffered four defeats.

The most recent encounter between the two took place in the 2009 Nehru Cup opener in Delhi, where Lebanon secured a 1-0 win. The only time India was able to defeat Lebanon was way back in 1977 during the President Park's Cup in Korea Republic, where they claimed a 4-2 win.

The Indian captain, Sunil Chhetri, has a history of scoring against Lebanon, having found the back of the net once in both legs during the first round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 2007. However, despite Chhetri's contributions, the Cedars emerged victorious with a 6-3 aggregate score.

Form Guide

India: LWWWW

India have now won four games on the spin and the last seven on home soil. It includes a win over higher-ranked Kyrgystan, so India will be confident going up against Lebanon who are ranked just two places above India. In their last seven matches at home, the Blue Tigers have conceded just one goal while scoring 14 in reply.

Lebanon: LDLWD

The Lebanese have been in mixed form of late losing twice, drawing twice, and winning just once in their last five matches. They are, however, unbeaten in the Hero Intercontinental Cup so far and would provide a stern test for India. Lebanon have played both their matches in the afternoon heat so they may be able to deliver a better performance during the evening kick-off against India.

Key Players


Sandesh Jhingan: The Indian defender played his 50th international match against Vanuatu and kept a clean sheet, and has been a mainstay in the Indian rearguard for years. He also had a very strong Hero Indian Super League campaign with Bengaluru FC, winning 118 aerial duels last season, twice more than the second player in this metric. He will be crucial for India against Lebanon who will be expected to pose a greater threat than Mongolia and Vanuatu.

Sunil Chhetri: The Indian captain continues to deliver when it matters for the Blue Tigers and his goal against Vanuatu ten minutes from time took India into the final. He has always stepped up his game against stronger sides, and expect nothing different when he takes the field against Lebanon.


Hassan Maatouk

The captain of the side, Maatouk, is the player to watch out for in the Hero Intercontinental Cup. The 35-year-old plays a pivotal role for the side and is capable of playing in different positions in attack. His vision and ability on the ball make him a potential game-changer. He began his senior national team career at the age of 19 and played his first game on January 26, 2006, in a friendly match against Saudi Arabia, which Lebanon won 2–1.

Maatouk holds the record for the highest number of goals scored by a Lebanese player, with 21 goals, and he is also their most-capped player with 101 caps.

Nader Matar

Similar to Maatouk, Matar also represents Al Ansar FC in the Lebanese Premier League for his club football. Born in Ivory Coast, Matar is an attacking-minded midfielder who possesses excellent dribbling skills and flair. He is known for his proficiency in set pieces, serving as a specialist for his team.

Matar, who is 31 years old, made his debut for Lebanon in a friendly match against Iraq on January 22, 2012, which Lebanon won with a score of 1–0.

Match Details

Fixture: India vs Lebanon

Date: June 15, 2023

Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar

Telecast: Star Sports 2, Disney + Hotstar, JioTv