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The Croatian acknowledged the rivalry between India and Nepal as the two sides meet in the final…

Familiar foes India and Nepal are set to battle for the SAFF Championship 2021 trophy when they lock horns in the final at the National Football Stadium in Male, Maldives, on Saturday evening.

After back-to-back draws against Bangladesh (1-1) and Sri Lanka (0-0), the Blue Tigers turned around their campaign with a 1-0 win over Nepal before defeating Maldives 3-1 to finish atop in the round-robin group stage.

What Igor Stimac had to say ahead of the final against Nepal?

Of the 22 times these two nations have clashed before, including the twin friendlies in Nepal ahead of the tournament, India have defeated their neighbours 15 times, with five ending in a draw and Nepal winning twice.

However, Stimac remarked, “We are not allowing complacency to step in. We are aware of what we need to do. There is a very tiny line between being confident and overconfident and I am keeping a close eye that we don’t cross that line.

“We are rising as a group, as a team and as a big family playing better football with every given day. We have to be patient, keep working hard and be confident. Nepal are a known opponent to us, as much we are to them. We take confidence in having won the last two matches. But I reiterate, we are not overconfident,” he added.

Nepal coach to step down after SAFF Championship 2021 final

Nepal picked a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh which was enough for them to progress to the final. The Gorkhalis began their campaign with two wins on a trot – a 1-0 win over Maldives and a 3-2 win against Sri Lanka – before their only loss which came against India.

After the final group game against Bangladesh, Abdullah Al Mutairi claimed that the final against India will be his last match as Nepal head coach as the Kuwaiti national was unhappy with certain sections of the media that he chose not to reveal.

On the upcoming final, he commented, “These two teams are the best (in the tournament). We must play (to our best).”

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