Nepal is playing final against India after 28 years. Nepal had defeated India on penalties to win the title of SAF Games in 1993 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
After 28 years, Nepal has finally found India in the final of any tournament.
Nepal is locking horns against India today in the final match of SAFF Championship tonight at 8:45 PM NST.
Both teams have had contrasting journeys to get to the final. Nepal started in a significant fashion while India took their time to get to winning ways. Nepal were flying after two games thanks to victories against the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
However, they did complicate things in their third game, where they showed a rather dull performance losing the game after conceding a solitary goal late in the game.
Nepal left it late to level the game in their final round-robin clash, where they needed a point to go through. Anjan Bista’s coolly taken penalty in the 88th minute proved enough for Nepal to get to their first SAFF Championship final.
On the other hand, India, the tournament favorites, had a somewhat sluggish start drawing two opening games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but won their next two games against Saturday’s opponents Nepal and the Maldives to get to this stage.
Interesting situations have emerged in both camps ahead of the final, with both teams dealing with injuries and suspensions. Nepal will be without their go-to winger/center-forward Anjan Bista courtesy of two yellow cards thus far in the tournament. Manish Dangi, who has been chiefly used off the bench in this tournament, is in contention to start in place of Bista. Pujan Uperkoti, a regular name on the team sheet for Nepal, injured himself in the warm-ups last game and is still a doubt ahead of the final. The extent of his injury is still unknown. Rohit Chand might take Pujan’s place in the defensive midfield role in Pujan’s place. Nepal are expected to play in a 4-3-3 setup.
Expected Nepal XI: Kiran Kumar Limbu (GK/C), Gautam Shrestha, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Ananta Tamang, Suman Aryal, Tej Tamang, Rohit Chand, Suman Lama, Manish Dangi, Ayush Ghalan, Nawayug Shrestha.
India’s Croatian coach Igor Stimac got himself sent off late in the crucial encounter against the Maldives, making him unavailable on the sidelines come Saturday. They will also be without their center-back, Shubhashish Bose, who also got sent off in the dying minutes of the last match. Brandon Fernandes, the Indian no. 10, was stretchered off in the previous game due to a thigh injury is still a doubt for this game, and his availability is still to be accessed. Farukh Chaudhary is still with an ACL injury he suffered earlier in the tournament against Nepal. India are expected to play in a 4-4-2 formation.
Expected India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Chinglensana Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Lalangmawia Ralte, Mohammad Yasir, Udanta SIngh. Manvir Singh, Sunil Chhetri.
Action Sports will be broadcasting this match live in Nepal.
October 16, 8:45 NST
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