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India favourites to regain SAFF Football Championship

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Five countries in the South Asian region – India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and hosts Maldives competed for supremacy.

India and Nepal will meet in the final today after almost two weeks of intense competition.

A commendable performance by the Lankan dribblers saw them hold the South East giants India to a 1-all draw, while losing the remaining three matches to Bangladesh (1-0), Nepal (3-2) and Maldives (1-0) after some stiff competition.

The Indians, who are tipped to be favourites to regain the title, had to strive hard to reach the finals, winning two while the same number of matches ended in a draw.

They were the only undefeated team in the competition. Their skipper and striker Sunil Chhetri established a new record by scoring the highest number of goals by an individual for his country (79) which was earlier held by Pele of Brazil.

Team India has the best track record in the tournament, winning the championship on seven occasions since 1993. Their rivals Nepal have managed to enter the final for the first time within the period.

(AN)

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