Preview: India face Maldives in all or nothing SAFF Championship bout
India will clash against the home side, Maldives, in their last match of the group stage. The Blue Tigers have five points in three matches and sit at the third position. Maldives have six points in three games and lead the table.
India started their journey with two draws but managed a hard fought 1-0 win in their previous game against Nepal. Igor Stimac has remained under pressure throughout the campaign, and today’s clash against Maldives will be crucial.
On the other hand, the Red Snappers began the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Nepal. However, they bounced back in style to pull off convincing 2-0 and 1-0 victories against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively.
Tonight is going to be do or die for both the teams. A victory would seal their place in the final. Although, a draw would be enough for Maldives while the Blue Tigers can't afford any slip ups.
Maldives National Football Stadium will be buzzing under the floodlights. A perfect atmosphere for a match of this stake. It will be a challenge for the Indian team, but they will come out with an intention of securing all important three points and a shot at the trophy.
Talking to the press in the pre-match conference, Igor Stimac said, “Maldives are a much-improved team. They are more compact than they were before. They stress more on passing and possession-based football. They are creating chances, and their movements are great up front.”
While expressing his thoughts on previous matches, the Croatian said, “I am quite happy with the performances in our last 3 games – looking at the way we played, looking at the possession numbers. We dominated them and our goalkeeper wasn’t much disturbed. But there is an old problem which is following us and that’s converting chances. We cannot be dependent on just one player and need to be more confident in front of goal.”
“We are going to witness tomorrow two great veterans on the pitch tomorrow – Ali Ashfaq on one side, and Sunil Chhetri on the other. It’s a joy to watch them play, and if they were playing in the same team, it would have been a great combination for any coach.”
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh, Dheeraj Singh and Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.
Kick-off time: 9:30 PM (IST)