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India vs Maldives, SAFF Championship Final: India Lose 2 1 in Hard fought Encounter

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In very unique circumstances, the Maldives football team got lucky in Bangladesh as a coin toss win against Sri Lanka paved the way for their progress to the business end of the SAFF Cup, where they scored their first goals of the competition to beat Nepal (3-0) in the semi-final to set up a battle with India for the title at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday. India, the defending champions, have had five different scorers finding the back of the net seven times in three games with only one conceded in the process. Not so comfortable wins for the young side against Sri Lanka (2-0) and Maldives (2-0) were followed up with a more charged-up performance against neighbours Pakistan (3-1) in the semi-final.

“We have struggled in the group stages but we’re in the final now. This is our biggest chance. We haven’t played the final in nine years. We’re well prepared and we’re going to fight to win the tournament,” captain of Maldives Ghanee said ahead of the final. Underdogs in the contest, Maldives are coached by Croatian Peter Segrt are aware of the task in hand and must find a way to stop India from playing to stand a chance. Set plays and attacking on the counter will be their most crucial weapons as they aim for a second title. In four attempts, they’ve won the summit clash once. Twice have they lost to India before this and have only beaten them once. “Maldives have shown their worth with the semi-final win against Nepal which was not an easy task. Some of their players didn’t play against us and they did some major damage work against Nepal,” India coach Stephen Constantine told AIFF ahead of the final. “We are expecting a tough game against Maldives. But as I said before, we have come with a strong intent to win the tournament.”

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