K. Male'
28 Jun 2023 | Wed 18:08
Lebanon players celebrate after scoring a goal against Maldives
Lebanon players celebrate after scoring a goal against Maldives
SAFF Championship
SAFF Championship: Maldives loses final group stage match to Lebanon
Lebanon has secured a spot in the semifinals
The match ended 1 - 0
Maldives has a chance if Bhutan wins by a margin of two goals

The Maldives national soccer team has lost its own power to secure a spot in the semifinals of the ongoing SAFF Championship 2023, after losing to Lebanon in the final group stage game.

Lebanon secured a spot in the semifinals after beating Maldives during Wednesday’s game.

The game ended 1 – 0.

Maldives will end their SAFF campaign with two wins and one loss, after this.

Although the Maldives’ team’s performance was exemplary in every way during Wednesday’s game, unlike the previous two matches, the team’s efforts went down the drains.

The only goal of the game was scored with a free-kick delivery by Lebanon player Hasan Maatouk at the 24th minute.

Although Maldives’ Ibrahim Aisam had an excellent opportunity to score at the ninth minute of the game, the ball sailed over the crossbar with his kick, to no avail.

Throughout the game, Lebanon players showed great defence and kept pressure on the Maldives’ defence, despite the Maldives’ team’s multiple efforts to attack.

Maldives’ Ibrahim Aisam got a yellow card in the second half, for holding the ball too long.

The semifinal spot for Group B will only be confirmed after Bangladesh and Bhutan compete later on Wednesday evening.

The chances for Maldives to make it to the semifinals are slim, and entirely depends on Bhutan winning its match against Bangladesh with a large margin.

If Maldives and Bangladesh tie, the latter will head to the semis.

Lebanon has secure nine points in all three matches played. Maldives and Bangladesh have three points, with Bhutan at the bottom of the table with zero points. Due to this, if the three teams are tied on three points, the team for the semi-finals will have to be decided on the basis of profit goal and head-to-head.

In 2018, Maldives had barely made it to the semifinals. As such, the team made it after a draw, after tying with Sri Lanka.

That time round, Maldives brought home the championship trophy.

If the Maldives is eliminated from the tournament this time round, it would mark the first time in SAFF history that the Maldives didn’t make it to the semifinals.

The two-time SAFF champion beat Bhutan in their first match of this year’s tournament, however, came under pressure after losing 3 – 1 to Bangladesh.

Lebanon will go head-to-head against India or Kuwait in the semis, as the Group B topper. Kuwait tops Group A, India following closely at second.

The SAFF Championship is being held from June 21 – July 4 in Bengaluru, India.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals.

Maldives is placed in the same group as Lebanon, Bangladesh and Bhutan this SAFF Championship.

Last updated at: 9 months ago
Reviewed by: Fathimath Zuhaira