Kuwait vs Bangladesh in the high voltage semi-final of the SAFF Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore, Karnataka.
The SAFF Championships 2023 semi-final between Kuwait and Bangladesh will be live telecast on DD Sports TV Channel and Fancode app.
After an enthralling action in the group stage, the roster of the 2023 SAFF Championship has been narrowed down to only four teams who will be now quarrelling in the knockout round.
The first semi-final clash of the sub-confederation tournament will feature the guests Kuwait who are eying to turn their maiden appearance into a maiden glory. The anticipated penultimate encounter between Al-Azraq and the Bangladesh side will take place at Bengaluru's Sree Kanteerava Stadium this fantastic Friday.
Along with Lebanon, Kuwait is one of the two nations from the WAFF sub-confederation that were invited for this edition of the SAFF Championship as guest participants. The main intention of the SAFF of this invitation from outside their region was to uphill the competition standards and the presence of the Al-Azraq side has evidently fulfilled it. The Middle Eastern Blues turned down India's claim to top the Group A table after having scored one goal more (8) than the hosts (7).
Bangladesh is regarded as the third most decorated SAFF nation after making it to the semi-final stages of the championship five times in 12 appearances and also clinching the title once. However, the Bangla Tigers failed to qualify for the penultimate stages for the straight five editions before finally achieving it this season. Under the guidance of the Spanish gaffer Javier Fernandez Cabrera, the Red and Greens roster is spirited to replicate their heroics of 2003.
"We are not just here to participate. There will be lot of people in Bangladesh who will be praying for us. We hope we can do some special things:", said Jamal Bhuyan
"My partnership with Rakib and Morsalin have been good. It is not everyday that Bangladesh score 6 goals in two games. One who will be having a good day, will have to do take the game away from the opponent." said Jamal Bhuyan
The Portuguese head coach of the Kuwaiti Blues, Rui Bento has entrusted the 4-2-3-1 formation throughout the group stages and is likely to do the same in the knockout round as well. After resting his key players in the Pakistan game, Bento went back to his full-strength lineup against India hence we may not see many changes for this crucial encounter as well.
The star left-back defender Hamad Al Qallaf will have to serve a one-match suspension after receiving a red card in the 90th minute of the India clash. Qallaf is likely to be replaced by the 24-year-old Hussain Ali Muhaisen who featured in the starting eleven against Pakistan in the absence of the former.
As a consequence of their opening fixture, Bangladesh head coach Javier Cabrera discarded the 4-3-3 formation and switched back to 4-4-2. The change has turned the tables for the Red and Greens as the inclusion of the holding midfielder Mohammad Ridoy has brought stability to this unit which is evident in their past two fixtures.
The 17-year-old teenage sensation Shekh Morsalin who got his first start in the tournament against Bhutan is likely to retain his place. Meanwhile, there's a high possibility for the return of the Finland-born central defender Tariq Kazi into the Bangla lineup while Bishwanath Ghosh may switch back to his original right-back position.
Kuwait (4-2-3-1): Abdulrahman Kameel; Abdullah Al Fahed, Hamad Al Harbi, Hasan Al Enezi, Hussain Ali Muhaisen; Sultan Al Enezi, Redha Hani; Eid Naser Al Rashedi, Ahmed Al Dhaferi, Mohammad Abdullah Daham; Shabib Al Khaldi
Bangladesh (4-4-2): Anisur Rahman Zico; Bishwanath Ghosh, Tariq Kazi, Topu Barman, Isa Faysal; Mohamed Sohel Rana, Mohammad Ridoy, Jamal Bhuyan, Sohel Rana; Rakib Hossain, Sheikh Morsalin