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SAFF Cup: India, Pakistan drawn in different groups

November 02, 2011 16:30 IST

Drawn in Group A alongside Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bhutan, five-time winners and holders India will kick off their campaign in the SAFF Cup with a match against Afghanistan on December 3.

Pakistan are in Group B along with last edition's runners-up Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal for the December 2-11 event. The matches will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi.

Despite being ranked lower than nations like Bangladesh (141) and Nepal (144), the hosts (160) are expected to start the 10th edition of the premier tournament as favourites.

Sri Lanka are currently ranked 177 and Afghanistan are placed at 184, while in the other group Nepal are followed by Maldives at 162, Pakistan 173 and Bhutan 199.

The last time India hosted the biennial tournament, they won it in Margao in 1999.

Divided into two groups, the top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on December 9, two days before the summit clash.

India defeated Maldives, currently ranked 162, 3-1 in the tie-breaker in the final of the previous edition in Dhaka two years ago.

Meanwhile, in another development, the South Asian Football Federation on Wednesday announced the renewal of its agreement with its exclusive partner World Sport Group (WSG), in a deal to run through 2017.

Singapore-based WSG, Asia's leading sports marketing, media and event management company, has been the exclusive commercial partners of SAFF since 1996, when they established an agreement to market South Asian football's marketing and television rights.

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