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We can beat India, says Maldives coach Herbert

Unfazed by the 1-4 drubbing his side suffered at the hands of defending champions Afghanistan in a group match, Maldives’ coach Ricki Herbert feels that his boys can beat hosts India in the SAFF Cup semifinals on Thursday.

Maldives finished second in Group B and face six-time champions India in the first semifinals, and Herbert said he was confident that his side can emerge victorious.

“Even if we had won on Monday’s game against Afghanistan, we would’ve had to win the semi final and the final to lift the trophy. So we should not be anxious about the clash. I’m confident our team after a good rest can beat India,” Herbert was quoted as saying by Madivian newspaper ‘Haveeru’.

Despite the confidence, Herbert said he was wary of India’s home advantage and admitted that the South Asian giants have a strong young team. India have beaten Maldives six times in the knockout stage of the SAFF Cup.

Afghanistan will face Sri Lanka in the second semifinal on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Maldives’ national airline Maldivian together with the Football Association of Maldives have decided to schedule special flights for supporters ahead of the semifinal match.

Delhi lad Robin ruled out of remainder of SAFF Cup
Indian football team on Tuesday suffered a blow ahead of their SAFF Cup semifinals against Maldives on Thursday as striker Robin Singh was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to knee injury.

Delhi lad Robin failed to recover from the knee injury he suffered during India’s 2-0 win over Sri Lanka in their opening match on December 25. Robin, who has been released from the squad, had scored both the India’s goals and he was stretchered out in the 75th minute after scoring his second goal. He did not play India’s second group match against Nepal which the home side won 4-1 to book a semifinal berth.

Head coach Stephen Constantine termed the ruling out of Robin due to injury as “disappointing”. “On Monday’s (December 28) MRI revealed that his knee problem is a bit more serious that we had expected. 
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