The Indian football team will lock horns with Lebanon in the second semi-final of the SAFF Championship 2023 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday, in what will be a rematch of the Hero Intercontinental Cup final.

India finished second in Group A after a stalemate with Kuwait in the final group game, while the Cedars maintained a perfect winning record to top Group B.

During the Hero Intercontinental Cup, the Blue Tigers exhibited their dominance against Lebanon over 180 minutes, and their commanding performances led them to a resounding victory in that tournament. Now, India will be eager to maintain their stronghold over Lebanon when the two clash once again on Saturday for a spot in the SAFF Championship final.

FIFA Ranking

India: 100

Lebanon: 102

Head-to-Head Record

The Blue Tigers have improved their head-to-head record against the Cedars in the Hero Intercontinental Cup, with one draw and a victory. They will now aim to narrow the margin even further on Saturday, but they will face a tough challenge from Lebanon, who will seek to avenge their 2-0 loss in the Hero Intercontinental Cup final.

In the nine previous meetings between the two sides, Lebanon has won four games, India has won twice, and three matches have ended in draws.

Form Guide

India: DWWWD

India's clean sheet record came to an end on Tuesday, but they continue to be undefeated in their last nine matches, winning seven of them. The Blue Tigers even displayed dominance against a tougher opponent like Kuwait. However, they, unfortunately, conceded a late own goal, resulting in a draw and sharing the points. In addition to their recent success and impressive form, the Blue Tigers have surpassed Lebanon in the latest FIFA rankings.

Lebanon: DLWWW

Lebanon has made a remarkable recovery since their loss to India in the Hero Intercontinental Cup final. They are currently in excellent form, having emerged victorious in all three of their group-stage matches in the SAFF Championship. Throughout this run, they have managed to score seven goals while conceding just one, which mirrors India's record.

Key Battles

Hassan Maatouk vs Nikhil Poojary

Poojary has been in stellar form, providing much-needed stability to the Indian defence from the right-back position. However, he will face a tough challenge when he goes up against the Lebanon captain in the semi-final. Maatouk is arguably the most dangerous attacker on the Lebanese side and will certainly pose a threat to the Indian defence. The in-form winger forward has netted two goals in the competition thus far.

Walid Shour vs Sunil Chhetri

Shour has shown great promise in Lebanon's defensive line. His game-reading skills and defensive organizing abilities have been top-notch thus far. The centre-back was beaten twice in the Hero Intercontinental Cup final and would now be eager to stop the Indian skipper, who is also in supreme form. Chhetri has scored in each of the three group-stage games and is leading the golden boot race with five goals. With his goal against Kuwait, he has now become the joint-top scorer of the SAFF Championship, having scored a total of 23 goals.

Match Details

Fixture: Lebanon vs India

Date: July 1, 2023

Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru

Telecast: DD Bharati & Fancode