India locked horns with the Maldives in the 2018 SAFF Cup final which will be played at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Saturday.
By Hamad Hussain
KARACHI, September 12, 2018 (SNN24/7) – India outclassed arch-rivals Pakistan by three goals to one to storm into final of the 2018 South Asian Football Federation Cup (SAFF Cup) at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday.
In the first semi-final of the SAFF Cup 2018, Maldives thumped Nepal by three goals to nil. Interestingly, both the finalist teams were their group toppers after the preliminary stage.
SAFF Cup: India vs Pakistan – Goalless First Half
The match between the arch-rivals started in a very competitive fashion. Both the sides tried their best to take an early lead. However, forwards from both the sides lacked the execution. The match failed to deliver any goals at the halfway stage.
2018 SAFF Cup: India vs Pakistan – India Dominate 2nd Half
The pendulum swung India’s way in the second half. Both sides showed desperation to put a goal on the scoring sheet. Manvir Singh found the back of the net in the 48th minute to give India a much-needed advantage over Pakistan. The Pakistani side did their best to equalize but failed to break the shackles.
Manvir Singh once again was able to find gaps in the defense line of Pakistan football team and gave India their second goal in the 69th minute. Despite all their efforts, Pakistan failed to create meaningful gaps in the Indian defense line.
As Pakistan upped the pressure on the Indian side, they offered more spaces to the Indian forwards. Sumeet Passi made full use of the gaps in Pakistan’s defense and gave India their third goal of the evening in the 84th minute.
Mohammad Ali Dabous gave Pakistan a consolation goal in the 84th minute. However, it was India who won the match and locked horns against the Maldives in the final of the tournament.
India had 16 shots on the goal as against Pakistan’s 18, but their eight shots were on target as against Pakistan’s seven. India dominated the possession as they kept the ball in their control for the 56 percent of the match. India’s pass accuracy was also better than Pakistan as they achieved 59 percent as against Pakistan’s 51 percent.
2018 SAFF Cup Final: India vs the Maldives
India will play Maldives in the 2018 SAFF Cup final to be played at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh at 06:00 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time on Saturday.
2018 SAFF Cup: Pakistan’s Performance in a Glance
This was Pakistan’s first appearance in the SAFF Cup last-four clash after 13 long years. India are the only unbeaten side in the competition to-date. Pakistan defeated Nepal 2-1 before losing 1-0 to Bangladesh. They qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Bhutan in their last group match. Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh all had six points each in Group A but Pakistan and Nepal progressed into the knockout stage due to better goal average.