New Delhi, INDIA – Maldives will face India for the third time in the semifinals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship. The statistics all favour the regional giants India. However, out of the 30 matches Maldives played in the regional tournament, Maldives has never lost a single match after Maldives has scored first in a match. Maldives won 15 matches after scoring first, but has never lost a single match.
Out of the 30 matches Maldives played in the SAFF Championship, Maldives has lost just 5 matches. Maldives lost to India four times and lost to Bangladesh once in the history of the SAFF Championship. The matches where penalties are taken, are counted as draws.
Maldives have scored 58 goals in the SAFF Championship and conceded 26 goals 12 goals were conceded in the first half and 14 goals were conceded in the second half. 10 goals the Maldives conceded came in the first half an hour of the game.
Maldives has faced India 8 times in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship from 1997. Maldives managed to overcome them twice in the SAFF Championship. The first time in 2008 in SAFF Championship finals after Mukhthaar Naseer (Twokilo)’s wonder goal crowned Maldives the champions. The second was in the group stages of the 2009 SAFF Championship with India seeding an Under 23 team. The matches are not accredited as national team matches by FIFA and hence in the official documentations, the matches are not counted as national team matches.
Maldives has never won a semifinal match against India so far in the regional tournament. Maldives lost to India in 1999, by 2- 1. Baichung Bhutia and Bruno scored for India and Mohammed Wildan scored for Maldives in the match. In 2005, Maldives lost to India by a single goal scored by Manju in the 38th minute.
Out of the 26 goals Maldives has conceded, India scored 42% of the goals. Maldives just managed to score 7 goals against India in 8 matches in SAFF Championship. Out of the 11 goals, 7 goals were scored in the first half. 6 goals were scored in the first half an hour of the game.
In the matches Maldives have won against India, Maldives scored in the 15th, 79th and 85th minute.
Maldives have never won a single match in penalties. Maldives shot the penalties in 2003 against Bangladesh. Maldives lost by 5 – 3. Maldives lost their second chance to lift the trophy in 2009 in penalties by 1 – 3 against India.
The statistics favour the regional giants. But statistics are on just paper, but the real game is on the pitch. Our hope is Maldives to win the semifinals and to reach the finals for the first time after beating India.