India vs Lebanon Highlights: Sunil Chhetri and Co. wins 4-2 in penalties; enters SAFF Championship 2023 final

July 2, 2023 | by

SAFF Championship 2023 semifinal, IND vs LBN : Enjoy the highlights of the match between India and Lebanon, as Sunil Chhetri and Co. beat the Cedars to make it to the final.

Updated : Jul 01, 2023 23:21 IST




Bengaluru:  Indian Football Captain Sunil Chhetri celebrates after they won in penalty shoot out during the 2nd semifinal  of SAFF Championship 2023  between India vs Lebanon at Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, Saturday, July 1, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)(PTI07_01_2023_000326A)

Welcome to Sportstar’s live blog of the SAFF Championship 2023 semifinal match between India and Lebanon, being played at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. This is Neeladri Bhattacharjee taking you through the minute-by-minute updates of the high-voltage clash as it happens.

That was all for tonight. India makes its way into consecutive finals of the tournament. We will continue bringing live updates of the Championship as it happens. Until then, take very good care of yourselves and thank you so much for tuning in.

Key Updates
  • JULY 01, 2023 23:04Match Report
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:33Sunil Chheri’s reaction:It wasn’t easy. We’re gonna go back and rest well. They are not easy to play against. It went into penalties and we are so happy that we kept our focus and won the match. We are not thinking of the final. We are just going to go back and recuperate and then think about the final.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:31Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s reaction:It’s great for us. The work that we are doing for the last few weeks is showing now, ensuring a clean sheet for 120 minutes and then keeping our composure to keep out shots on target to go on an win.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:26Igor Stimac is a happy man tonight!The Indian head coach comes down from the stands, hugs assistant coach Mahesh Gawli, applauds India’s win and cheers the crowd for their support.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:24India through to the SAFF Championship final!India beats Lebanon 4-2 on penalties and makes its way into consecutive SAFF Championship finals, hoping to defend its crown against Kuwait on July 4.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:17India vs Lebanon penalty shootout updatesSunil Chhetri scores for India!; IND 1-0 LBN
    Maatouk misses for Lebanon! IND 1-0 LBN Ali scores for India, sends the goalkeeper the wrong way! IND 2-0 LBN
    Walid Shour scores Lebanon, despite Sandhu jumping the right way, to his right! IND 2-1 LBN Singh scores for India, sends goalkeepr the wrong way! IND 3-1 LBN
    Sadek scores for Lebanon! IND 3-2 LBN steps up for India and scores! IND 4-2 LBN
    Bader misses for Lebanon! IND 4-2 LBN
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:16India vs Lebanon: Penalty Shootout!India will take the first kick. The list is made. The result set to be done and dusted in the next few kicks.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:11End of Extra-Time! Match gets into penalty shootoutAfter 120 minutes of tense action, the score remains 0-0 as it heads into the penalty shootout. India, the defending SAFF champion will now have its trial by fire through spot-kicks.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:10120+3’ Foul!Rohit Kumar is fouled by Darwich as India gets a free-kick in its half.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:09120+2’ Goalkeeping change for Lebanon!Ali Sabeh replaces Mehdi Khalil for Lebanon as the team looks to get ready for the penalty shootout.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:09120+2’Chants of ‘Let’s go India, let’s go!’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ are echoing around the stadium and as two Lebanon players go to ground, Indian fans boo the move, as they think it is done to waste time for a shootout.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:07120’Chhangte and Chhetri combine, with the latter drawing defenders and releasing Chhangte, who shoots to force a save by Khalil.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:06119’The constant runs of Lebanon are being stifled by India, with the latest one by Khalil cleared by the Blue Tigers.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:04118’Lebanon parading around the India box in numbers but India still manages to get the ball out of its box with Anwar getting it to Udanta through a long ball. Udanta passes to Rohit, who fails to thread a pass through for Chhetri.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:03116’Maatouk gets the ball to Farran, who crosses for Darwich, but the ball goes over him to Poojary, who tries to start a counter-attack for India. But Lebanon’s defence atches up with him eventually.
  • JULY 01, 2023 22:01113’ What a run by Udanta!Udanta Singh makes a phenomenal run, beats his marker, Zein, side-steps Melki but fails to beat the goalkeeper Mehdi Khalil. Khalil makes a save but Jeakson fails to capitalise on the follow-up.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:59112’ Side-netting by Mahesh!Mahesh gets a through ball from Rohit Kumar, who then tries to cross for Chhetri only to see Lebanon intercept it out for a corner as the ball ends up in the side-net.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:57110’ Anwar into the bookAnwar Ali and Darwich get together again and this time the Indian centre-back gets a caution, getting his name into the book.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:56109’ Bader’s shot just wide!India tries to get a shot on target from a free-kick but Lebanon attacks against the run of play. Mahdi Zein gets the ball to Khalil Bader who shoots just off-target.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:53106’Anwar Ali fouls Darwich in front of the Indian penalty box and Maatouk steps up for the free-kick. He has already scored from one in this tournament but this time, it is contained by India, with Melki failing get his head to it.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:51ET Second half begins!Last 15 minutes to decide the winner, or else we go into penalty shootout. India starts from right to left and Lebanon gets it going from the other end.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:50End of ET 1st half! LBN 0-0 INDSunil Chhetri came agonisingly close to scoring twice in this half but nothing could actually break the deadlock with valiant performances from both goalkeepers so far.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:49105+3’Nader Matar tries to shoot with the outside of his right foot but ends up seeing the ball fly over the net, out of any chance of danger.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:48105+2’Maatouk tries to combine with Darwich to start an attack but Akash clears the ball out of danger to the cheers of thousands of fans in blue jerseys in the stadium.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:4714’ Matar gets into the bookNader Matar tries to switch attack for Lebanon and concededs a free-kick in the process. The referee warns him with a yellow card.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:45103’Mahesh tries to start another attack along the right flank. He makes a run along the right flank but his cross for Chhetri on the left is without any direction to fall into the gloves of Khalil, Lebanon’s goalkeeper.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:44102’ Udanta’s header just off-targetThe corner, first headed away, is sent in again by Chhangte and Udanta jumps to get a head. But the header is just off-target.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:42101’Mahesh gets the ball up front, passes it to Chhetri, who combines with Chhangte , trying an overlap but Shour intercepts to force a corner kick.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:41100’ Chance!India has successfully drawn Khalil out of his comfort zone but Chhetru fails to exploit the space enough as a crowd of red shirts clear the ball out of danger.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:3898’ Red card for Assistant coach of LebanonDejan Trickovic, the assistant coach of Lebanon is shown the red card after being cautioned early-on in the game. And Stimac, India’s head coach, can only smile, watching the match from the stands.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:3796’ What a miss by Chhetri!Udanta makes a fantastic run along the right flank, beats his marker, Melki, and then crosses for Chhetri who shoots it off target, in-front of the goalkeeper.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:3594’ Chhetri’s shot saved!Sunil Chhetri tries to go for the magnificent, receives the ball with one touch and shoots with the next, with his right foot, forcing an important save by Khalil on full-stretch.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:3493’Zein is up on his feet but is still limping on the sidelines. Khalil Bader replaces him eventually.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:3291’Rohit Kumar and Hussein Zein get into a duel for the ball along the left flank. Zein gets the ball out of play but hurts himself in the process. The medical team of Lebanon rushes for assistance.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:31ET first half begins!The first half of extra-time begins as nearly 20,000 fans await the fate of the Blue Tigers, the defending SAFF Champions, in Bengaluru now.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:26End of regulation time!The referee, Sinan Hussain, blows his whistle to mark the end of regulation time. An extra 30 minutes to be played not to find the winner and if that fails to serve the purpose, we’ll get into penalty shootout.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:26Darwich into the book!Karim Darwich fouls Chhangte with a rash challenge and the referee immediately takes out the yellow card for the forward.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:2490+5’Chhangte has switched to the left flank after Udanta’s arrival and tries to get a cross through following a marauding run but cannot reach the ball on time.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:2390+3’Akash Mishra tries a cross from the left, which first blocked is then shot by Anwar to force another block by Lebanon. Meanwhile the visitors go for an attack and Darwich goes down off a foul by Nikhil Poojary.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:2190+1’ Change for India!In: Udanta Singh, Out: Ashique Kuruniyan
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:2090+1’Melki makes another key interception as Chhangte’s cross from the left for Chhetri is headed out of play by him. The corner sees Khalil punch the ball out of danger for Lebanon.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1990’Mahesh takes the corner kick after Melki gets the ball out of play. The Cedars makes another clearance to keep ythe scores locked at 0-0.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1888’This corner, however, is cleared away by Lebanon.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1787’ Off the bar for India!Mahesh takes the corer kick which is struck well by Anwar. But the ball dips just a bit late to get a touch from Khalil and then hits the bar to go out for another corner kick.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1686’Anwar gets the ball to Mahesh, who then gets the ball to Akash. but the final cross blocked by Srou. Corner for India.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1585’Anwar goes to ground after heading the ball away, off Lebanon striker Karim Darwich. But the centre-back slowly gets back to his feet.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1383’ Chance for Lebanon!Farran gets the ball up front, makes a run along the left flank and passes for Maatouk who goes for goal. But the ball whistles past over the net as the Indian fans heave a sigh of relief.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1181’Lebanon has successfully forced India into its own half and is now trying to go on an attack. Srour gets the ball up front but goes only as far as Maatouk in the Indian half as the match remains level at 0-0,with nine minutes of regulation time left.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:1080’Akash Mishra makes a good run along the left flank, draws the defenders towards him and releases Ashique and then threads in a pass for the player. But Ashique’s cross is very poor as the ball goes flying out of play.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:0979’India had named a squad which looked like a 3-2-5-1 team. It started with a 3-5-2 shape and is now playing a 4-4-2 formation.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:0676’ Close to 20,00 at the Kanteerava StadiumThe official match attendance is 19,640 — people turning up in blue jerseys, some with the flag painted on their cheeks with one hope – India makes it to the final.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:0474’ Triple chance for India!Out: Anirudh Thapa, Subhasish Bose, Sahal Abdul Samad, In: Rohit Kumar, Akash Mishra, Mahesh Singh
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:0372’ Chance for India!Anwar gets a through ball to Ashique, who then combines with Sahal to catch Lebanon napping. Ashique whips in the cross for Chhhetri, waiting in the centre burut George Melki intercepts to clear it away.
  • JULY 01, 2023 21:0070’Lebanon has successfully frozen the two flanks, India ususally attacks with and Chhangte, as a result, finds himself, surrounded by red shirts. India, thus tries to attack from the centre, with Thapa trying a lobbed pass for Chahal, but the ball just passes over the KBFC player, out of play.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5767’Maatouk gets the ball to Farran, who darts into the final third, cuts to his left and then shoots with his left foot with the ball rifling over the net, out of play.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5666’Thapa tries to get the ball up the pitch for India but the ball hits Mahdi Zein’s face, who goes down appealing for a foul. The referee does not give a foul and resumes play with a drop-ball.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5465’India tries to attack with set-pieces. Chhangte delivers a cross from the right for Chhetri but overshoots it, only to see Maatouk run back to clear the ball for Lebanon.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5363’Lebanon playing with diagonal balls across the field but Bose contains the attack with a crucial interception, stopping that development entirely.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5261’ Sandhu makes another save!Mahdri Zein whips in a right-footed cross from the left for Karim Darwich, who heads on target. But Sandhu makes another save to remain unbeaten between the sticks, so far in this game.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:5059’ Khalil saves Chhangte’s shot!Chhangte gets the ball in the box. He tries get back in control as he moves out of the box and then shoots on target. However, there is not force in the shot as Khalil stops its comfortably.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4858’ Change in personnel for India!Lebanon has another player down, it is Zein, being attended by the medical team.Meanwhile, India makes a change along the back-line. In: Nikhil Poojary, Out: Pritam Kotal
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4656’Sunil Chhetri chests a long ball and tries to start an attack with a through ball. But the linesman had the falg raised to stop play for an off-side.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4454’ Change in personnel for Lebanon!In: Karim Darwich, Out: Ali MarkabawiSafe move by Lebanon with Markabawi already on a yellow card and was looking without discipline after the challenges against Bose.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4353’ Yellow Card for Shour!Now the referee gets his card out for Lebanon’s No. 16 for a foul in their own box. He gets the first booking of this half.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4252’Markabawi and Bose are involved yet again along the right flank and the referee gives a foul but keeps his cards in his pocket, despite Sunil Chhetri arguing for further punishment.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:4050’Lebanon is looking to build quick attacks ucing single toucheds and fast throw-ins as Aleksandar Illic instructs his side from the technical area. The cpach was verbally warned by the referee for protests in the first-half.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:3849’Mehtab gets a lobbed ball, intending to find Chhangte but its lands comfortably for Khalil. Mehtab has replaced Jhingan, who is out with a one-game suspension.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:3748’‘Let’s go India, let’s go’ chants are echoing around the stadium as Stimac’s side looks to find the breakthrough against a closely knit defence.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:3646’Jeakson gets the abll up front for India, passes for Ashique on his left. But Hussein Zein makes a key interception to stop that development.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:35Second half begins!India continues its quest for a breakthrough against Lebanon as the next 45 minutes of the match begins.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:28What are the takeaways from the first half?India has allowed too much space for Lebanon to exploit early on in the match. Lebanon, throughout the tournament, has shown how quickly it can attack. That is something India will look to keep in mind, closing spaces keeping the defence compact.Gurpreet has been great. The save off Maatouk’s free-kick and the one-on-one save off Farran’s strike early on have proved why he is the undisputed No. 1 for so long in the national team. Chhetri, barring the 16th minute through ball for Jeakson Singh, has been marked well enough. He has shown what he can do if given a chance and that is something the BFC striker will look to so in the next half.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:20Half-Time! LBN 0-0 INDGurpreet Sandhu’s crucial goalkeeping has denied Lebanon two certain goals as India and Lebanon remain tied at 0-0 at the half-way mark.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:19Foul! Thapa goes to ground.Markabawi fould Anirudh Thapa in the midfield and the Indian is wreathing in pain as the boys in blue appeal for action from the referee. No cards involved here as the medical team assists him to get back on his feet.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:1645’The match has been an end-to-end affair, much like the first semifinal. It will be interesting to see if it ends like that, with an extra-time winner. For now, its goalless at this SAFF Championship semifinal in Bengaluru.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:1242’ Sandhu makes another save!Free-kick for Lebanon and Maatouk at the end of it. The captain’s curler moves in but Sandhu makes a crucial save to deny a certain goal here.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:1040’ Free-kick for India!Chhangte and Thapa stand for the free-kick. Thapa runs off with Chhangte delivering a low cross for Chhetri in the centre of the box. The routine looked clearly set-up in the training ground but Shour makes a clearance to end that attack.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:0837’ Injury scare for Lebanon!Walid Shour is on the ground for an injury, with the referee allowing the medical team of Lebanon to attend to the payer. The player is eventually back on his feet.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:0736’ Tempers flaring on the pitch again!Zein Farran fouls Subhasish Bose at the edge of the box. Farran shouts on Bose’s face and the two get in a scuffle only to see the referee intervene for peace. Ashique barges in but the rest of the team cools him down.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:0534’ Straight into the gloves of Sandhu!Maatouk takes another free-kick. Another right-footed curler, another shot on target but Sandhu makes a comfortable save to keep the score locked at 0-0.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:0333’ Chhangte’s shot flies off-target!Chhangte gets the ball in the midfield and tries a shot from distance but the ball flies off-target, not creating any threat at all for the boys in red.
  • JULY 01, 2023 20:0131’ Gurpreet ‘Wall’ Sandhu forced into action!Lebanon gets a free-kick after Mehtab fouls Markabawi. Maatouk takes the kick, which curls in but Gurpreet fists it out of danger.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5929’ Anwar goes for goal!Anwar Ali tries to shoot from distance and goes for glory from the midfield. But Khalil is not at all troubles as he takes control of the ball.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5827’ Yellow card for Lebanon’s No. 11!Ali Markabawi tries to get the ball into the final third for Lebanon after pushing Sahal down. India appeals for a foul and the referee blows his whistle. Protests from Lebanon sees the ref reach into his pocket for a yellos card.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5626’ Foul!Zein fouls Chhangte and India gets another free-kick in the midfield. Kotal takes the free-kick which is headed out of danger by Lebanon.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5524’Thapa takesa free-kick which is just headed off-target by Bose. India continues to ask questions in the final third but the most-needed breakthrough, a goal, has still not arrived.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5322’Mahdi Zein steals the ball in the midfield and then tries a through ball for Maatouk but the ball overruns him as it goes out of play.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:5020’ Chance for India!Thapa tries to set up Kotal in the box with a clinical cross from the centre, in front of the box. But Kotal’s header is off-target as India continues its pursuit for a breakthrough.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:4919’India is playing on the offensive with Anwar trying a through ball for the final third but the Red Wall of Aleksandar Illic’s side is denying any chance of a long ball from the defender.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:4816’ How did Lebanon stop this!India starts an attack with Chhetri setting up Jeakson on the right, who threads in a pass for Sahal. But Lebanon’s Ali Dhanini intercepts in the eleventh hour to deny a certrain goal to the Blue Tigers.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:4615’Khalil looks to clear the lines for his side as the Cedars look for a breakthrough, starting with an early attacks right from kick-off.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:4313’Lebanon has started a very different side to that which played in the Intercontinental Cup, earlier this month, including the goalkeeper Khalil.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:4111’Chhangte gets a gorgeous cross from the left to the right flank. He makes a run into the final third, beats his marker and then tries a cross which lands in the gloves of Mehdi Khalil, the Lebanon goalkeeper.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:409’ First booking of the match: Mehtab Singh!Mataouk tries to get to the ball and is embroiled ina contest with Mehtab Singh. The Lebanon captain goes to the ground holding his ankle and the referee books Mehtab for the offence.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:398’ Gurpreet saves India!India gives huge space to Lebanon as Zein Farran gets the ball along the right flank and gets in a one-on-one situation with Gurpreet. He shoots on target but the Bengaluru FC goalie wins the battle with a key save.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:376’Kotal tries to get the ball off Matar and fouls him as the player goes to the ground, wreathing in pain. Lebanon protests, appealing for a foul and a card but the referee, Sinan Hussain, is not interested.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:355’Maatouk sets up Matar on the left again and the winger fails to keep the ball on target yet again with a strike that ends in a goal-kick for India.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:344’India is maintaining a three-man defence for now, with Thapa trying a through ball for Chhangte on the right. But Lebanon intercepts to stop that attack.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:321’ Early chance for Lebanon!Lebanon starts on the offensive! Maatouk starts the attack, passes to his right to Zein Farran, who then crosses to the centre for Nader Matar. Matar shoots it high over the net.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:30Kick Off!Sahal Abdul Samad gets the ball rolling from left to right for India while Lebanon starts from the other end.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:30A pep talk by the captain!The Indian team gathers up for the huddle and is then seen giving a talk to the team as the gets ready for the semifinal.
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:26The teams are on the pitch!The players walk out of the tunnel. Lebanon will start in red while India will start in blue. The players queue up for the national anthems and then take their positions on the pitch. Kick-off is minutes away!
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:22Can Sunil Chhetri score again?The Indian striker has found the net in every game in this tournament so far. Can we score tonight as well? We’ll have to wait and watch.Here are his goals in the tournament so far:1. Hat-trick vs Pakistan: Goal vs Nepal: Goal vs Kuwait:
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:13Why Sandesh Jhingan and Igor Stimac are out of the semifinal?
  • JULY 01, 2023 19:07More people filling up the stands!The SAFF Championship semifinal between Lebanon and India is expected to be a full-house, with more and more people walking into the stadium.
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:57What happened when India and Lebanon last met?India faced Lebanon most recently in the Intercontinental Cup final, where it beat the west-Asian side to clinch the title.Here’s what happened in that match:
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:53The Blue Tigers are on the pitch!
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:48Lebanon’s starting XI:Mehdi Khalil (GK), Hassan Maatouk (C), Mahdi Zein, Hussein Zein, Ali Markabawi, Hasan Srour, George Felix Melki, Nader Matar, Mouhammed Ali Dhaini, Walid Shour, Zein Al Abidine Farran
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:41Confirmed line-up for India:
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:21Streaming infoWhen will the match between India and Lebanon be played?The match between India and Lebanon will be played on Saturday, July 1. The kick-off is at 7:30 PM IST.Where can I watch India vs Lebanon SAFF Championship match?The game between India and Lebanon in the Bangabandhu SAFF Championship 2023 will be streamed live on FanCode on subscription basis. On TV, it can be watched on DD Bharati.
  • JULY 01, 2023 18:01Match PreviewOne of the reasons the 2023 SAFF Championship welcomed two West Asian sides in Kuwait and Lebanon was to make the tournament more competitive. India, after all, had won eight of the past 13 editions, and the presence of a couple of evenly matched teams would certainly liven up proceedings.The India – Kuwait game on Tuesday fit the billing, and India nearly edged the contest before an unfortunate own goal denied it a famous win. On Saturday at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the hope is for another feisty encounter as the hosts will look to put one across Lebanon in the semifinals.Recent history suggests that India has the edge, having beaten Lebanon in the Intercontinental Cup final a fortnight ago and drawn the other group stage game in Bhubaneswar. Form-wise, India can take heart from the performance against Kuwait where it was the better team for large chunks of the match.India pressed high up the pitch, attacked in droves and transitioned excellently from defence to offence. Sunil Chhetri up front, the wingers in Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte, and the defenders in Akash Mishra and Anwar Ali were all excellent.However, against Lebanon, Chhetri & Co. will have to do without Sandesh Jhingan in defence and head coach Igor Stimac on the touchline. The towering Jhingan, who played a pivotal role in the 1-1 draw against Kuwait, is suspended after picking up his second yellow card. Stimac is banned after his second red in as many matches.That Lebanon will be keen to avenge the Intercontinental Cup loss will add spice. The Aleksandar Ilic-coached outfit topped Group-B with three wins out of three and the Serbian’s promise of “Total Football” indicated that his wards will play to win.“There are no secrets any more [between the teams],” declared Ilic, on Friday. “We are really motivated and I am pushing my players psychologically to make them believe we can succeed. It will be very important that we score the first goal. That will help us end the semifinal in a positive way.”

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