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Which country has defeated India the most in SAFF Championship?

Which country has defeated India the most in SAFF Championship?

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India will be looking to clinch their eighth SAFF Championship title when the tournament kicks off on October 1 in Maldives. They are the most successful team amongst the other participating nations which includes Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. 

Sunil Chhetri is the highest scorer amongst Indians with 13 strikes to his name. To become the all-time top-scorer of the competition, he has to overtake Maldives’ Ashfaq Ali who leads the charts with 20 strikes.

India have won 34 games, drawn 10, and have ended up losing on eight occasions. Interestingly, four of those defeats have come in the final. Three of the eight losses India have suffered came against Maldives.

1995 

Sri Lanka vs India (1-0)

In the 1995 SAFF Championship final, India locked horns with Sri Lanka. It was an intense battle and after 90 minutes both teams were inseparable. The match went into extra time and in the second half, Sarath Wellage broke Indian hearts with a winner in the 108th minute to hand his team the silverware. 

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2003

India vs Pakistan (0-1)

It was the first match of the 2003 edition of the SAFF Championship where the two eternal rivals went up against each other. Neither of the two teams could break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes. After halftime, Pakistan found a spring in their foot and they made the most of their dominance with Sarfaraz Rassol piercing the net in the 50th minute. IM Vijayan came close to scoring in the 70th minute but his effort went inches wide of the frame and India were consigned to a defeat.

Bangladesh vs India (2-1)

In the first semi-final, India took on hosts Bangladesh in a packed Bangabandhu Stadium, in Dhaka. It took 77 minutes for the opening goal as Rokonuzzaman Kanchan put his side ahead. However, Alvito D’Cunha levelled things up for India just four minutes later. But Motiur Munna’s opportunistic strike in the 98th minute propelled Bangladesh to the finals. 

2008

India vs Maldives (0-1) 

India went into the final as the favourites . They were unbeaten in the tournament and had conceded just twice. The strikeforce of Sunil Chhetri and Bhaichung Bhutia had looked threatening earlier in the tournament, but in the final, they failed to their weave magic. The island nation courtesy of a 77th-minute strike by Mukhtar Naseer defeated India to win the SAFF Championship. The edition was held in Maldives for the first time.

2009

Maldives vs India (2-0) 

This was the final group stage match and India succumbed to a shock 2-0 defeat. One goal in each half from Ahmed Thoriq and Ibrahim Fazeel handed Maldives the three points against the Blue Tigers. However, India exacted sweet revenge on Maldives, as they beat them in the final to win the championship. India had sent an U23 team to this tournament.

2013

India vs Nepal (1-2)

Nepal registered a shock-win over India, at the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium in Katmandu, in a group stage match. The Indians were on the backfoot right from the start and in the 70th minute, the citadel was finally breached when Anil Gurung scored the opener. 11 minutes later, Jumanu Rai doubled the lead for Nepal. India’s Syed Rahim Nabi scored a consolation goal for the visitors in injury time. 

Afghanistan vs India (2-0)

India were once again outplayed in the tournament, and this time it was the Afghans who inflicted damage. Wim Kovermans’ India were no match and the opposition dominated proceedings. They took just nine minutes to score the opener through Mustafa Azadzoy. The Dutch manager brought on Sunil Chhetri to cancel the deficit at the hour-mark but the Afghan defence could not be breached. Instead, India conceded the second goal in the 62nd minute through Sandjar Ahmadi. 

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2018

Maldives vs India (2-1)

India were the overwhelming favourites to win the SAFF Championship even though coach Stephen Constantine chose to field only U-23 players.  They had won all their matches in the competition quite comfortably and had even beaten Maldives 2-0 in the group stage. But in the final, India could not play their natural game. Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain got an early goal in the 19th minute and the island nation further increased their lead through Ali Fasir after the hour-mark. Although Sumeet Passi got a late goal, it was not enough to win the tournament. 

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