SAFF Suzuki Cup: India Vs Maldives
The 2018 SAFF Suzuki Cup final will be played between two teams who have faced each other more than any other in the competition’s history, Maldives and India.
India will start as favourites against Maldives in the summit clash of the SAFF Championship Final at Dhaka. The Indian team comprises of all U-23 players except one and their confidence will be boosted due to their unbeaten run before the final.
India has been dominating the SAFF Suzuki Cup over the years. They have won the tournament more times (7) than any other individual nation has even made it to the finals (Maldives will be playing their fifth final this year), and their seven tournament wins is more than every other side has managed combined (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan all with one win each).
What boosts India more towards achieving the glory is that the top scorer of the tournament is striker Manvir Singh (3 goals) who is in great form and ready to strike again in the final, before Mohammed Ali and Hassan Bashir of Pakistan (2 goals each). Vishal Kaith is looking forward to be the tournament’s best keeper with 11 saves only after Pakistan’s Yousuf Butt (15 saves), Maldives’ Mohammed Faisal (14 saves), and Bhutan’s Ngawang Jamphel (13 saves).
“Maldives have our full respect and we are expecting a tough game tomorrow. But we also deserve to be in the final. We fear none and as I said before, we have come with a strong intent to win this tournament.” said Indian coach Stephen Constantine.
The Maldives Head Coach Petar Segrt was delighted with his team making it to the final and said, “We are facing a huge opponent. India has a population of 1.3 billion and we are 300,000. But tomorrow it will be 11v11 on the field.”
“If India is fielding U23 players, we are fielding semi-professionals. Most of our players work for eight hours and then train. I’m very proud of each one of them. It’s a huge success for us to be in the final of this competition. We respect India, they’re a big opponent. But this is our chance which we want to take it,” he added.
Head to Head :
• Played: 19
• India: 14
• Maldives: 3
• Tied: 2
● Recent Form :
○ India: W (2-0 vs SL), W (2-0 vs MAL), W (3-1 vs PAK)
○ Maldives: L(0-2 vs IND), D (0-0 vs SL), W (3-0 vs NEP)
Match Details :
• Date: September 15, 2018
• Event: India vs Maldives, Final, SAFF Championship
• Time: 6:30 PM, Indian Standard Time
• Venue: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka, Bangladesh
• Broadcast: D Sports
• Live Stream: www.dsports.in
● Probable Line-ups :
• Formation: 4-4-2
Vishal Kaith – Subhashish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Salam Ranjan Singh, Davinder Singh – Ashique Kuruniyan, Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh, Nikhil Poojary – Farukh Choudhary, Manvir Singh
• Formation: 4-2-3-1
Mohammed Faisal – Mohammed Samdooh, Akram Abdul Ghanee, Ali Samooh, Hussain Sifaau Yoosuf – Ibrahim Waheed Hassan, Hussain Nihaan – Hamza Mohamed, Ibrahim Mahudhee, Ali Fasir – Naiz Hassan
Author’s Take :
Maldives were clinical in their semi-final clash against Nepal, where they won 3-0, courtesy of Ibrahim Waheed Hassan’s brilliance. He will be one player who can create a difference in the final and Indian defenders needs to mark him carefully, because, they are not going to go down without a fight.
Stephen Constantine on the other hand is pleased with his team’s progress in the competition and he believes that India are where they deserve to be.
Considering all conditions and facts, I predict a 2-1 win for India.