INDIA



India Look For Repeat Win in Dhaka

Defending champions India return to Bangladesh seeking their eighth SAFF Suzuki Cup title. The last time the tournament was played in the country, in 2009, the men in blue went on to lift the title after defeating Maldives on penalties in the final. In the only other instance of Bangladesh hosting the SAFF Suzuki Cup (2003) India claimed third spot.

With their opponents in the past three finals, Afghanistan, not around this time, the Stephen Constantine-managed side will hope to feature in the final once again against a new side. Under the current manager, India went on a 13-match unbeaten run before losing to Kyrgyzstan last month in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier.

The seven-time champions will be led by talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri - the national side's all-time top scorer. Chhetri, in fact, is also India's highest goal scorer in the SAFF Suzuki Cup with 13 goals. He is seven goals behind Maldivian Ali Ashfaq, the man with the most goals scored in the tournament.

Chhetri will be joined by Jeje Lalpekhlua in attack, the Chennaiyin FC forward who has already found the net 21 times for his country. In goal, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is a reliable custodian while India's defensive resources are boosted by the presence of Kerala Blasters' Sandesh Jhingan.

Alongside Sri Lanka, India is the only side to feature in all 12 editions of the SAFF Suzuki Cup. Considering their illustrious record in the competition, the men in blue will back themselves to add another jewel to the crown.

After winning the inaugural competition in 1993, India emerged champions in 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2015 as well. They have also finished runner-up, in 1995, 2008, and 2013.

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