Having endured a topsy-turvy beginning to their campaign before a fine turnaround, seven-time champions India will start title favourites when they take on first-time finalists Nepal in the summit clash of the SAFF Championships in Male on Saturday.
The final will be the 12th for India in 13 editions which shows the domination of the Blue Tigers in this regional tournament. The third-place finish in 2003 was the worst performance for them.
A win against Nepal will also be head coach Igor Stimac’s first trophy after taking charge of the Indian team in 2019. Should the team come good, he will become the sixth coach to win the SAFF Championships title and third foreigner after Jiri Pesek (1993) and Stephen Constantine (2015).
Stimac will, however, not be in the Indian team dugout on Saturday as he was shown a red card (second yellow card) in the Maldives match apparently for protesting the referee’s decisions.
His assistant Shanmugam Venkatesh, himself a SAFF Championships winner, will guide the side.
India drew against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in their first two matches which had put them in danger of missing the final but the win against Nepal brought them back in the reckoning.
The 3-1 outplaying of hosts the Maldives, thanks to a double strike from talisman Sunil Chhetri, sealed India’s place in the final.
The frayed nerves before the must-win Maldives match are no longer there after a dominant win over the defending and two-time champions, who were considered the toughest opponents in the region but the job is not yet done.Nepal, ranked 61 places below India at 168th, have shown that they are no pushovers in this tournament and it needed a late goal (82nd minute) from Chhetri for India to beat them in the round-robin match. They have beaten the Maldives while drawing with Bangladesh.
When and Where the SAFF Championships 2021 Final between India and Nepal be played?
India vs Nepal SAFF Championships 2021 Final will be played in Male, Maldives at the National Football Stadium on Saturday, October 16. The final will get underway from 8:30 pm IST.
Where can I watch the SAFF Championships 2021 Final between India and Nepal on TV?
Euro Sport and Euro Sport HD will provide live television broadcast of the SAFF Championships final in India.
Where can I watch the SAFF Championships 2021 Final between India and Nepal online in India?
Discovery + App will provide live streaming of the SAFF Championships final in India.
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