Defending champions India will take on their arch-rival Pakistan in the much-anticipated grudge second semi-final of the Suzuki SAFF Championship schedule to be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The match kicks off at 7 pm.
The blue tigers are the only unbeaten side in the competition so far. India was pitted in Group B alongside Sri Lanka and Maldives while Group A consisted of Nepal, Pakistan, hosts Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
India got off to an auspicious start as blanked 2-0 to Sri Lanka in their tournament opening match after Ashique and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored a goal apiece. The score line could have been much better for India in this match but there were just too many chances that were squandered in the final third.
With big names like Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu missing, the young U-23 squad � led by Subhashish Bose � also recorded a 2-0 goal win over the Maldives in second Group match. Nikhil Poojary and Manvir Singh were the goals scorers to ensure India are safely through to the last four spot.
Meanwhile, Pakistan began their campaign with a comfortable 2-1 victory over Nepal in Group A. However Pakistan lost to 0-1 to Bangladesh in their second group match before ending their group stage campaign with an overwhelming 3-0 victory over Bhutan. However favorite India will go to the field tomorrow against Pakistan with an upper hand. Out of the 23 times the two sides have met, India has won ten matches, ten matches were drawn and three were won by Pakistan.
The last time the two rivals locked horns was five years back in the 2013 SAFF Championship in Nepal, and India clinched the SAFF title beating Pakistan by a solitary goal in the final.
However, this was a long time back and it will be hard to make any predictions for the upcoming match as it promises to be an evenly-contested match.
Though there were no football event in Pakistan in the last three years but have fighting sprit already proven their ability in the current tournament showing consistence performance in all their three group matches.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)