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SAFF Championship Football 2021 Final: India vs Nepal: Match Time, Head to Head, TV info, Live Streaming

Indian football team

Bengaluru, October 15: India will be eyeing a record eighth title when they take on Nepal in the 2021 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship final on Saturday (October 16).

The match to be played at the National Football Stadium in Male will kick off at 8.30pm IST and the Indian fans can catch all the action live on Eurosport SD/HD channels with live streaming available on Discovery Plus.

India's chief coach Igor Stimac has been using the tournament as the last opportunity for the players to play international matches before the start of the third round of 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifiers in February next year.

Indian team (from): Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes, Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad, Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.

After a slow start, the Blue Tigers have gradually picked up momentum in the SAFF Championship which featured five teams.

Slow start

Slow start

India were held by 10-men Bangladesh 1-1 in their opening encounter and it was followed by an equally, if not more disappointing goalless draw against Sri Lanka.

India then beat Nepal 1-0 and that was followed by a resounding 3-1 against the hosts Maldives which guaranteed them a place in the final.

Head-to-Head vs Nepal

Head-to-Head vs Nepal

In 22 matches against Nepal, India have lost just twice to their neighbours but the contest has been a bit more competitive in recent times. In the last eleven encounters between the two team, India have won seven times, there have been three draws and a Nepali victory.

Interestingly, the two teams had played two back-to-back international friendlies in Kathmandu in the first week of September where India had won the second match 2-1, after having drawn the first.

Stimac's challenge

Stimac's challenge

Despite being the favourties, the mood, in the Indian camp is not much willing to get into a celebration mode. Stimac and Co understand that nothing has been won as yet, and the next 90 minutes can always be extremely cruel.

The worst performance for seven-time champions India before this edition of SAFF Championship was the third-place finish in 2003 and the country has either won or finished runners-up in 11 previous editions and hence Stimac knows the enormity of the challenge ahead. "We know them very well and have played twice against them. It's an open game and if we play well, and do it right on the pitch, I am sure that we can win the game. There is no other option for us than to go out there and win it," the Croat stated.

Chhetri the talisman

Chhetri the talisman

Chhetri came to the rescue of the team in the group phase encounter against Nepal scoring the decisive goal to equal the legendary Pele, but the question is how long the country will keep relying on the old warhorse to find the opposition net.

The 37-year-old later added a brace to surpass the Brazilian legend during the win against Maldives and all said and done his form will hold the key to the Indian team's fortunes.

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Story first published: Friday, October 15, 2021, 9:45 [IST]
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