Dhaka, BANGLADESH - Maldives advanced to the final of SAFF Suzuki Cup after beating in form Nepal by 3-0 after a poor performance in the group stage two games. Maldives lost to India by 2-0 in the group stage. However, India advanced to the final after beating Pakistan by 3-1 in the semi final.
This will be the fourth tie between the two sides in a SAFF Championship final after 1997, 2008 and 2009. Maldives' only triumph came in 2008 with a 1-0 win over India. Maldives lost to India 3-1 in the shootout in 2009 final against India at the same venue.
Maldives vs India
Venue: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
Capacity: 36,000 spectators
Kick-off: 19:00 (18:00 Hrs Maldives time)
Indian striker Manvir Singh has scored more goals than any other player at the 2018 SAFF Suzuki Cup (three), including a brace in their 3-1 semi-final win over Pakistan. He also scored against Maldives in the group stage.
Sumeet Passi will have to be content with a place on the bench as Manvir Singh leads the goal scoring charts.
Ibrahim Waheed Hassan scored a brace in the semi final against Nepal even though they failed to score a single goal in the group stage two matches.
The Maldives Head Coach Petar Segrt 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," Segrt added.
Head coach of the Indian team, Stephen Constantine, "I'm pleased with our progress in this competition. I think we've played very well and we deserve to be in the final. Maldives were excellent against Nepal, and I don't think anyone expected how well they would perform in that game. They have some really good players, and have our full respect, but we fear no one".
PROBABLE LINE-UP: INDIA
Vishal Kaith (GK), Salam Ranjan Singh, Subhashish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Anirudh Thapa, Davinder Singh, Farukh Choudhary, Ashique Kuruniyan, Vinit Rai, Manvir Singh, Nikhil Poojari
PROBABLE LINE-UP: MALDIVES
HEAD TO HEAD
30 Nov 1987 India 5-0 Maldives South Asian Federation Games
09 Sep 1997 Maldives 2-2 India SAFF Championship
13 Sep 1997 India 5-1 Maldives SAFF Championship
17 Nov 1998 India 2-1 Maldives International Friendly
29 Apr 1999 India 2-1 Maldives SAFF Championship
04 Oct 1999 India 3-1 Maldives South Asian Federation Games
08 May 2000 Maldives 1-0 India Golden Jubilee Tournament
14 Dec 2005 Maldives 0-1 India SAFF Championship
07 Jun 2008 Maldives 0-1 India SAFF Championship
14 Jun 2008 India 0-1 Maldives SAFF Championship
09 Dec 2009 Maldives 2-0 India SAFF Championship
13 Dec 2009 Maldives 0-0 India SAFF Championship
10 Jul 2011 Maldives 1-1 India International Friendly
09 Dec 2011 Maldives 1-3 India SAFF Championship
25 Aug 2012 India 3-0 Maldives International Friendly
09 Sep 2013 Maldives 0-1 India SAFF Championship
31 Dec 2015 India 3-2 Maldives SAFF Suzuki Cup
09 Sep 2018 India 2-0 Maldives SAFF Suzuki Cup
India and Maldives faced each other 18 times and India are on the better side after winning 13 times and lost to Maldives in just two occasions. Maldives lifts SAFF Championship in 2008 after beating India by 1-0.