Bhubaneswar, 17 June: Hosts India were held to a goalless draw in their last Intercontinental Cup football league match at the Kalinga Stadium here.

With the draw, India finished on top of the standings with seven points from three matches. Lebanon was second with five points from three games.

India will play Lebanon again in the final on Sunday.   Earlier Vanuatu beat Mongolia 1-0 to take third place in the four-team competition.

Having already made the final, coach Igor Stimac made 10 changes to the Indian playing XI that beat Vanuatu. Sunil Chhetri was benched for the game and Sandesh Jhingan led the side

Playing in their blue jersey, India got off the blocks quickly and attacked down the flanks. India had an opportunity to go ahead early on but Anirudh Thapa missed from a close range.

Anirudh Thapa intercepted a pass from Ashique Kuruniyan in the side box, but Thapa hit it wide of the goal despite only Lebanon goalkeeper Ali Sabeh in front of him.

India continued to send dangerous crosses into the Lebanon box and the hosts were presented with another opportunity to take the lead. Ashique Kuruniyan, however, failed to hit it past the Lebanese custodian from a close range.

Lebanon came the closest to scoring in the 42nd minute when India gave away possession and Hasan Saad dribbled into the box, only for Nikhil to clear it from a dangerous position. The visitors counter-attacked frequently but failed to penetrate the resilient Indian defence.

With half-time approaching, India pressed forward in their attempt to break the deadlock, but a goal eluded Igor Stimac's side

India started the second half with the same intensity and searched for a goal but the forwards failed to add the finishing touches. As the game headed for a draw, Igor Stimac introduced Sunil Chhetri in an attempt to get the winner.

The changes almost worked. First, Rahim Ali received a through ball on the left from Anirudh Thapa, but Ali hit it away from the goal. Sunil Chhetri, too, had a chance to put India ahead, but the veteran striker headed over the goal as Lebanon held on for a draw.


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