SAFF Championship: India begin title defence against Pakistan

Updated: 31 August 2013 19:35 IST

The SAFF championship has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian football team having won six out of the nine editions of the tournament and having never lost to Pakistan in the championship.

SAFF Championship: India begin title defence against Pakistan
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Kathmandu:

Defending champions and favourites India will be aiming to start their SAFF Championship campaign on a winning note against arch-rivals Pakistan here on Sunday.

The SAFF championship has been a happy hunting ground for the Indian football team having won six out of the nine editions of the tournament and having never lost to Pakistan in the championship.

Out of 30 matches that two teams have been pitted against each other, India have won 17 matches while Pakistan have got the better of India on only five occasions.

The main contest in the clash will be between the two best players on either side: Indian captain Sunil Chhetri and one of Pakistan's best footballers Zesh Rahaman, who has played for EPL side Fulham in the past apart from playing for the championship side Blackpool FC.

Chhetri himself has plied his trade on foreign soil having represented MLS side Kansas City Wizards and 'B' team of Sporting Lisbon albeit with little success.

Chhetri will find quality support from Jeje Lalpekhlua upfront, who has scored five goals against Pakistan in the last two encounters between the two sides.

Lenny Rodrigues and Mehtab Hossain are expected to man the central midfield while Francis Fernandes and Syed Rahim Nabi are likely to operate on the wings.

Nirmall Chhetri, N Mohanraj, Gourmangi Singh and, Arnab Mondal are expected to start in a four-man defence while Subrata Paul should be in goal.

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