SAFF 2021 HIGHLIGHTS Final India 3-0 Nepal: Chhetri, Suresh and Sahal on the scoresheet as India defeats Nepal; lifts the title for the eighth time

India vs Nepal: Welcome to Sportstar's blog of the SAFF 2021 final match played at the Maldives National Football Stadium.

Indian captain Sunil Chhetri (left) has four goals from four matches in the SAFF Championship 2021.   -  AIFF

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's blog of the India vs Nepal SAFF Championship 2021 final match played at the at the Maldives National Football Stadium.

This was Aneesh Dey taking you through the blog and updates.  That's all for today!! Thank you for joining!! Goodnight and take care

 

MATCH REPORT: SAFF Championship 2021 Final: India defeats Nepal 3-0 to lift title for the eighth time

Stay tuned for the match report!!!

FULL-TIME!!!!! INDIA WINS THE SAFF CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE EIGHTH TIME!! (INDIA 3-0 NEPAL)

THREE ADDITIONAL MINUTES!!

90' GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!! SAHAL WITH A WONDERFUL SOLO EFFORT TO TRIPLE INDIA'S LEAD!! It was an effective counter by India. Sahal, who skipped past through two defenders and Nepal's keeper, maintained his calm to rifle the ball into the back of the net.

88' India moments away from winning the SAFF Championship for the eighth time.

85' TRIPLE CHANGE- Jeakson Singh, Rahim Ali and Sahal Abdul Samad replace Thapa, Suresh and Manvir. 

84' SHOT- Dangi with a long-range effort but it is nowhere near goal.

83' Manish Dangi cuts-back from the left flank but Anirudh Thapa stationed at the right place to intercept and clear the ball.

82' BOOKING- Mandar Rao of India sees yellow.

82' SUB- Santosh Tamang comes on for Uparkoti. 

82' Manish plays Nawayug with a well-timed pass but the latter is soon surrounded by the Indian defence and loses the ball.

79' CHANCE- A great chance for Udanta as he was clear to shoot at goal but Rohit Chand with a great block to deny the Indian winger from threatening Limbu's goal.

76' SUBS- Udanta Singh and Glan Martins replaces Yasir and Lalengmawia.

73' SHOT- Anirudh Thapa going for a direct goal from a freekick. He connected with his shot well, which also had a bit of curl but it was at a comfortable height for the keeper. 

70' The quick goals have hit Nepal's morale hard, which is evident from the disoriented style of play being displayed by Abdullah Almutairi's team.

68' SHOT- Chhetri collects the ball in midfield and makes a penetrating run through the Nepal defence. One on one with Limbu, he shoots at the keeper's left, which he saves.

67' Nepal with a well-crafted attacking move, which ultimately breaks down due to a misplaced pass.

65' SUB- Sunil Bal replaces Suman Lama for Nepal.

61' India much more confident on the ball after getting the two goals. Stimac's side dictating the play and Nepal having a difficult time in snatching the ball from its opponents.

58' Another chance for Chhetri who had a chance to get his brace- it was a race between him and Limbu to win the ball, which the keeper won. Second-half India miles above the first-half in its style of play.

57' SUBS- Manish Dangi, Ayush Ghalan and Bishal Rai replace Suman Aryal, Sujal Shrestha and Gautam Shrestha!! Attacking changes by Nepal by introducing pacy forwards.

54' Chhetri equals Lionel Messi's international goal-tally!! Both players have now scored 80 goals for their country.

53' BOOKING- Tej Tamang becomes the first Nepal player to get booked.

51' SHOT- Manvir this time with the shot after he was played a lovely through ball by Thapa. But the forward's effort is wide, not by much though.

50' GOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! ITS SURESH SINGH!! INDIA HAS DOUBLED ITS LEAD IN A MATTER OF MINUTES!! A minute after Chhetri's opener, another attack by India completely caught Nepal off-guard as Suresh Singh finished the attack with a well-taken shot in the far-post after a lovely cut-back from Yasir.

49' GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!! SUNIL CHHETRI SCORES!!! PUTS INDIA AHEAD!!! A great ball by Kotal from the right flank. Chhetri did well to reach the cross and head the ball home

SECOND-HALF BEGINS!!

It would be wrong to say that the teams have not created chances but overall, the proceedings of the match have been drab with the lack of end product being a glaring indication.

India's best chance came through a Sunil Chhetri volley in the 44th-minute but the Indian skipper has been quiet throughout most of the first half.

A lot of room for improvement for both teams in the second half.

Stay tuned for live action!!! Second half coming up after the break!!

HALF-TIME!! (INDIA 0-0 NEPAL)

45+2' A searching ball inside the box by Manvir but it did not find any Indian players as the attack dissipates.

ONE ADDITIONAL MINUTE!!

45' Worrying signs for Nepal as its keeper Kiram Limbu is struggling to continue. It seems to be a groin problem judging by his body language.

44' CHANCE- A brilliant cross by Yasir from the right flank, which found Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri made contact with it but his volley is inches away from goal.

43' SHOT- Lalengmawia takes a shot at Limbu from distance but the Nepal keeper watches it spin safely over his goal.

40' Pritam delivers a great ball inside the box from India's freekick. Rahul Bheke tries to meet it with a volley, but completely misses contact with the ball. It is a difficult technique in all fairness.

37' India not getting as much time in the middle of the park as it was in the opening minutes. Nepal pressing well to pressurise the Indian midfielders.

35' Manvir's ball inside Nepal's box was meant for Chhetri but the Indian skipper could not make a clean contact with his head. He was also under pressure from Limbu.

34' India has done well in some occasions to get inside the final third but the end-product has been below par. The forwards have hardly received service.

31' A deft pass by Thapa to Mandar Rao on the left flank. Rao whips a ball inside Nepal's penalty-area, but it was terribly misguided.

29' STAT TO NOTE- Sunil Chhetri, at 79 international goals is just one behind Argentina's Lionel Messi who has 80.

27' SHOT- Thapa slips a great pass to Chhetri, who takes a shot with his weaker left foot. It is too close to Limbu and does not threaten him as he collects.

25' Mandar sends a searching ball inside the box but no Indian players present to capitalise. Limbu gathers the cross easily.

22' It has been a sloppy display by both teams when it comes to retaining possession- neither team has been able to develop a sense of rhythm.

19' The conditions are not making things any easier for the players. Both teams have had their chances but no substantial threat on either team's goal.

17' CHANCE- A measured cross from the right flank by Sujal. Tamang was waiting to capitalise and his job was made easier by the fact that bheke slipped. However, Tamang was let down by his control.

16' FOUL- Sunil Chhetri a bit too eager to snatch the ball from Nepal keeper Limbu as he goes in for a sliding tackle as Limbu was taking his goalkick. Freekick to Nepal.

15' Support for the Blue Tigers away from home!!!

 

13' CHANCE- A great low-cross by Yasir from the right flank, which found Manvir but the forward could not quite bring it under his control.

11' The Indians dictating the tempo of the match right now, which is made easier by the amount of time and space they are getting in the middle of the park.

9' The heavens have opened up as conditions will get tricky at the Maldives National Football Stadium in Male.

8' BOOKING- India's Lalengmawia becomes the player to see yellow for tonight's final.

6' CHANCE- Sujal Shrestha with low-chipped ball to Nawayug Shrestha, who had a good chance to guide the ball past a diving Gurpreet but ultimately ends up conceding a foul. A good bit of play there by Nepal.

4' DOUBLE SAVE- Lovely bit of goalkeeping by Limbu. First it was a long-range effort by Yasir, which Limbu could not hold on to. The rebound landed in front of Thapa, whose shot was again saved by Limbu.

3' A nice bit of one-touch football by the Indians around Nepal's penalty-area. Yasir was at the end of the attack but he is out muscled by the Nepali defenders.

2' Manvir lofts an accurate ball towards Chhetri, who had made a well-timed run. However, the Indian skipper ends up conceding a foul in his effort to snatch the ball.

1' KICK-OFF!!

AND WE ARE UNDERWAY!!!

Kick-off moments away!!!

 

For the man who could not be present today!!

 

The stage is set!!

 

LINEUPS ARE OUT!!!

India XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Rahul Bheke, Chinglensana Singh, Mandar Rao Desai, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Anirudh Thapa, Lalengmawia Ralte, Manvir Singh, Mohammed Yasir, Sunil Chhetri (C).

Subs: Seriton Fernandes, Glan Martins, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Udanta Singh, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Liston Colaco, Rahim Ali, Vishal Kaith.

Coach: Igor Stimac

Nepal XI: Kiran Limbu, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Ananta Tamang, Gautam Shrestha, Suman Aryal, Pujan Uparkoti, Suman Lama, Tej Tamang, Sujal Shrestha, Nawayug Shrestha, Rohit Chand.

Subs: Deepak Karki, Suraj Thakuri, Nitin Thapa, Bishal Rai, Sunil Bal, Aashish Lama, Santosh Tamang, Ayush Ghalan, Bishal Shrestha, Manish Dangi, Kamal Thapa.

Coach: Abdullah Almutairi

Nepal Head Coach Abdullah Almutairi speaks out against SAFF

Nepal head coach Abdullah Almutairi lashed out against the SAFF for suspending him for the final against India on Saturday for the two yellow cards he received during the two group stage matches.

He spoke out against the unfair nature of his suspension and said that he has only been suspended to maintain balance with the Indian National team, whose head coach, Igor Stimac will also be absent from the touchlines for the red card he saw from in India's last group stage game against the Maldives.

“The SAFF has decided to keep me out as the Indian coach has also been suspended from the touchline,” Almutairi said.

“If you do not follow the rules, it will be meaningless to formulate the rules.”

“I think they are not happy with the result of Nepal. But, I will not stay quiet, I will hold a meeting with AFC,” the Nepal head coach said during a virtual press conference on Saturday.

”The SAFF has not only suspended Abdullah but also the head coach of Nepal national football team,” he said.

“I will not stay mum, will move the court….will send applications to the FIFA and AFC,” Almutairi said, adding, “All should follow the rules and regulations. I think I will move the FIFA and AFC.” He further said, “I will protect the players even if I am suspended from the touchline.”

MATCH PREVIEW

The Indian men's football team will embark on a mission to bring home its eighth SAFF Championship title when it takes on Nepal in Saturday's final.

The Blue Tigers got off to a woeful start but recovered well to win their last two matches and progress to the summit clash. The side will not have coach Igor Stimac on the sidelines as the Croat picked up two bookings in the previous game against Maldives and was sent off.

Stimac, who will watch the game from the stands, said his side is raring to go. “We are not allowing complacency to step in. We are aware of what we need to do. There is a very tiny line between being confident and overconfident and I am keeping a close eye that we don’t cross that line,” he said.

RELATED| Chhetri ahead of SAFF Championship final: We have peaked at the right time

Having played Nepal thrice since September, Stimac said his side was well aware of the challenge ahead. “We are rising as a group, as a team and as a big family playing better football with every given day. We have to be patient, keep working hard and be confident. Nepal are a known opponent to us, as much we are to them. We take confidence in having won the last two matches. But I reiterate, we are not overconfident.”

The side will be without defender Subhashish Bose, who was sent off in the last game. “Subhashish will be missed for sure because he is a left-footed player. He was our sole option as a left central defender at this stage, but we are working to replace him,” said Stimac.

The team will also miss the services of Farukh Choudhury and Brandon Fernandes, who have been ruled out due to an ACL injury and a quadriceps injury respectivly.

Assistant coach Shanmugam Venkatesh, who will marshal the Indian side, said the boys need to “enjoy the final.”

RELATED| India vs Nepal SAFF 2021 Championship final: All you need to know

“Nepal are an extremely competitive team, and the motivation of playing for both teams in a final is quite normal. We respect Nepal as a team. We have told our boys to enjoy the final,” said Venkatesh, who won two SAFF Championships as a player.

100

Stimac, who will watch the game from the stands, said his side is raring to go. “We are not allowing complacency to step in. We are aware of what we need to do. There is a very tiny line between being confident and overconfident and I am keeping a close eye that we don’t cross that line,” he said.   -  AIFF

 

He added, “It gives us the satisfaction that there are some boys from the U-17 World Cup batch who are settling in fast into the senior team. The players realise the importance of the final and the character on display after the first two games have been exemplary. Youngsters like Lalengmawia, Suresh, Yasir have played a huge role on and off the pitch, while the seniors have gelled well with Sunil, Gurpreet, Kotal, Subhashish, and Bheke leading from the front to keep the flag flying high.”

Lalengmawia, who earned praise aplenty for his performance in the 3-1 win over Maldives, said: “We are ready to give our best in the final. We understand that it won’t be an easy match. We are a young team, and the coach wants to build up a team for the future. I am eager to play my part as much as the others.”

Complete Indian squad

Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes. 

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary


Complete Nepal Squad

Goalkeepers: Kiran Chemjong, Bishal Shrestha, Deep Karki

Defenders: Rohit Chand, Ananta Tamang, Suman Aryal, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Gautam Shrestha

Midfielders: Sujal Shrestha, Bishal Rai, Sunil Bal, Suman Lama, Santosh Tamang, Tej Tamang, Pujan Uparkoti, Surajju Thakuri, Kamal Thapa, Ayush Ghalan, Nitin Thapa

Forwards: Anjan Bista, Aashish Lama, Manish Dangi, Nawayug Shrestha


Where can you watch?

The SAFF Championship final will be telecast in India on Eurosport and Eurosport HD. It can also be watched live online on Discovery + App. Kick off at 8.30 pm IST.