ANI Photo | SAFF Championship 2023: India eye their ninth title against stiff Kuwait challenge in final

India have reached the last hurdle of the SAFF Championship 2023 as they go up against Kuwait in the final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
After an unbeaten finish in Group A, the Blue Tigers went through an intense semi-final clash against Lebanon and accomplished a victory after a nail-biting penalty shootout. The upcoming final will be the side’s 12th final outing in 14 SAFF Championships.
Having played out a 1-1 draw in the group stage, the two opponents meet again, this time for the coveted crown. Playing their first-ever SAFF Championship, Kuwait will look to maximise this golden opportunity in their maiden participation in the tournament, and will be raring to be the victor in this exciting fixture.
The two sides have gone toe-to-toe four times and Kuwait have come out on top on two separate occasions, with their latest win coming in the infamous 9-1 victory in an international friendly in 2010.
The Blue Tigers, on the other hand, have managed to secure a solitary victory back in 2004, and will look to increase their win record as they aim to go one up in the final. The latest fixture between the two ended up in a draw in the group stage of the tournament.
The Igor Stimac-coached side have been on a meteoric run, having been on an unbeaten spree in their last ten games, winning seven of them. They have netted seven goals and have let in just one goal in their lead up to the final. Their hot streak of form has seen the side go a level up in the latest FIFA rankings, making the top 100 for the first time in five years. Holding the pedigree of reaching the most number of finals in SAFF Championships will be an added advantage for the Blue Tigers, which they’ll look to build on.
The Blue Wave have been on a rock solid form and find themselves on similar turf as India. While their FIFA rankings might tell otherwise, their on-pitch display has been nothing short of spectacular. The side last lost a game in January 2023 when they went down to Qatar in the Gulf Cup. Since that loss, the side has managed to score 18 goals and have conceded just four times.

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