India face Maldives in must-win SAFF Championships match, stare at worst show since 2003 | Football News – Times of India

MALE: Unbeaten nonetheless however vastly disappointing thus far, a beleaguered India face hosts Maldives in their final spherical-robin league match of the SAFF Championships on Wednesday, understanding nicely that nothing lower than a win will save them from elimination.
A draw or a loss will ship India out of reckoning for the ultimate of the regional match and that would be the worst end result for India in latest reminiscence, which might additionally increase questions on head coach Igor Stimac‘s continuation at the helm of affairs.
The worst efficiency for seven-time champions India earlier than this version was the third-place end in 2003 and the nation has both received or completed runners-up in 11 earlier editions.
All the 4 high sides in the 5-staff match stay in competition for the October 16 closing.
With 5 factors from two attracts and one win, India are at present at third place beneath Maldives (six factors from three matches) and Nepal (six factors from three matches). Nepal play Bangladesh (fourth place with 4 factors) in an earlier match on Wednesday.
Two-time and defending champions Maldives have by no means been straightforward opponents for India in the historical past of this regional match although the island nation sits 51 rating factors beneath India in FIFA chart at 158th.
The facet led by veteran Ali Ashfaq, one of one of the best strikers in the area, have regrouped themselves after shedding their opening match in opposition to Nepal, beating Bangladesh 2-0 and Sri Lanka 1-0.
Just like India captain Sunil Chhetri, the 36-yr-previous Ashfaq has carried Maldives soccer on his shoulders for a very long time and he has scored two of his facet’s three targets in this match. He will, little doubt, be the person India should be cautious about.
India felt the absence of skilled Sandesh Jhingan in deep defence as they may not defend a 1-0 lead in opposition to 10-man Bangladesh who scored a late equaliser regardless of numerical inferiority.
In the second match in opposition to 205th-ranked Sri Lanka, Indian forwards, together with Chhetri, had an off day as they may not create sufficient probabilities and likewise failed to complete no matter few scoring alternatives they’d for a 0-0 draw.
Chhetri got here to the rescue of the staff as soon as once more in opposition to Nepal, scoring the decisive aim to equal the legendary Pele in the earlier match, however the query is how lengthy the nation will maintain counting on a 37-yr-previous warhorse to search out the opposition web.
Nippy winger Udanta Singh has been inconsistent although he has proven flashes of his talents at the flanks whereas Seriton Fernandes in defence and Brandon Fernandes in the midfield have accomplished fairly nicely.
Understandably, Stimac has rued the lack of his forwards to transform the scoring probabilities.
“We need to improve our scoring from the chances which we are creating,” he stated.
“It is simple, if we do that, games become very easy. Otherwise you need to suffer till the end, or even beyond the end,” he added, nonetheless believing that his facet can attain the ultimate.
With the soccer loopy Maldivians prone to play the function of twelfth participant on Wednesday, the onus is on Stimac and his males to avert the nation’s worst soccer ignominy in a very long time.

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