The SAFF Championship has already started on the 1st of October, 2021 and India will be facing their neighbours Bangladesh in their first match on the 4th at the Maldives National Stadium. The two teams last met in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers where India won by 2-0, with their skipper Sunil Chettri netting the ball home twice.
In the SAFF Championship, the two teams have met 9 times before this encounter, with India winning 5 times and the scores remaining the same in the other 4 matches.
India is the most successful team in the SAFF Championship with 7 titles to its name but in this edition they will be missing a few of their key footballers. Amrinder Singh was dropped from the squad a few days back as he was infected with Covid-19, Sandesh Jhingan has been ruled out due to injury and players like Akash Mishra, Pronay Halder and Bipin Singh have failed to make it into the squad. On the contrary, winger Udanta Singh and goalkeeper Vishal Kaith were included by coach Igor Stimac.
The Indian football team played their last match against Nepal on the 5th of September, which they won by 2-1. Before facing Bangladesh on Monday, head coach Igor Stimac said, "We need to understand that the game starts right from the first second. We need to organize our game from the beginning. We came here only four days before. We have to travel to Male on speed boats to Male. There are artificial turfs are. We are protecting our players so that they do not get injured. We are playing for 15-20 minutes, working on set pieces. Not much we can do over here. Trying to get across to them the different game situations. We want to enjoy the tournament and not have any nervousness."
Indian skipper Sunil Chettri said in the press conference, "I want to win a game if I am playing for my country. No matter who you are playing you want to win. Both the games against Bangladesh have been very difficult. I don't want to lose any game for my country.
There are a lot of things we could have been better at. We have some more information about them. Their head coach has changed. But we are going to give our 100 per cent and we will be giving our best. We have played here in AFC. It is not a free-flowing ground but we will be giving our best."
Gupreet Singh Sandhu, the 6'5" goalkeeper, who is expected to start ahead of Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and Vishal Kaith shared his thoughts ahead of the game when he said, "We saw Nepal play the Maldives and they have definitely improved. The level of the competition has become better and they know how to exploit an opponent's weakness. We have to respect each and every team and put our best foot forward."
On the other hand, Bangladesh have beaten the 10-men Sri Lankan side in their first match, courtesy Topu Barman, who netted the ball home from a spot kick. Bangladesh have recently brought in Oscar Bruzon as the interim coach replacing Jamie Day. Bruzon, who was previously associated with Bashundhara Kings, used a 4-1-4-1 formation in the first game and his team managed to keep a clean sheet.
Where will the match be played at?
Maldives National Stadium.
What time does the match start?
4:30 pm IST.
Where will the match be telecasted?