In what has been a decent calendar year for Indian football, the national team will be look to end it on a high note as they get set to face Maldives in the SAFF Cup 2015 semifinal at the Trivandrum International Stadium on Thursday, 31 December.
India come into the game at the backdrop of two straight wins, against Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Stephen Constantine's army won the opening game of the competition with a 2-0 score against the Lankan Lions, they eased past neighbours Nepal 4-1 in the next game.
Robin Singh was the man of the moment for India in the first game, while 18-year-old sensation Lallianzuala stole all the headlines in the second.
While the Mizoram star will be expected to feature in the game today, Robin won't. The striker suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Sri Lanka, and he has thus been ruled out for the entire competition.
Nevertheless, Constantine will look towards the other options present for him in attack, to fill the boots of the Bengaluru FC man. "The 19 players we have now have all performed brilliantly. Although our preparations were hampered by Robin's injury, which is a big blow for us, life goes on," Constantine said at the pre-match presser. "But it also gives the opportunity to the other players to fill into his shoes.
"We are looking forward to a difficult game against Maldives as they are a good side. Not only are Maldives highly organised, they are good in the attacking department too."
Maldives come into this game with two wins from three games in Group B. They defeated Bhutan and Bangladesh with a 3-1 score on each occasion, but faltered against defending champions Afghanistan in their last group game.
India look the favourites on paper today, but expect the away side to give tough competition. Ricki Herbert also feels the pressure is on the home side. "The pressure is all on them [India]," the Maldives football team coach said. "It is quite clear that they brought the best possible players they can, except maybe one or two young players.
"I think it'll be a good game. There will be an atmosphere in the stadium. Our players will embrace that, that's what the players want."
Where to watch live
The kickoff of the game between India and Maldives is scheduled for 3:30 pm IST on New Year's Eve.
The entire subcontinent can catch the game on Star Sports 4/HD 4 (except Afghanistan).
Viewers in Afghanistan can watch the game on Moby Q.
Live streaming for the entire subcontinent is available on the official SAFF Cup YouTube account.
Other TV listings: Television Maldives (Maldives), Doordarshan (India), BBS (Bhutan), Bangladesh TV (Bangladesh).