India emerge group top beating Maldives 2-0 in SAFF Championship

DHAKA, Sept 9, 2018 (BSS) – Tournament favorite India maintained their supremacy as they emerged group champions by beating the Maldives by 2-0 goals in their second and final Group B match of SAFF Suzuki Cup held on Sunday at Bangabandhu National Stadium here.

India will now meet their arch-rival Group B runners-up Pakistan in the much-anticipated first semi-final while Group B champions Nepal will meet Group A runners-up the Maldives, which qualified in the semi-final by virtue of toss after both Sri Lanka and the Maldives have equal one point after playing two matches.

Both the semi-finals are scheduled to be held on September 12 at the same venue.

With the day’s successive victories, India secured full six points from two matches while the Maldives remained at their previous credit of one point playing the same number of outings.

India got the first scoring chance in the 10th minute when Nikhil Poojary’s well judged header from inside the danger zone off Anirudh Thapa’s cross went out of play over the cross bar.

However, Nikhil Poojary gave India a deserving lead in the 35th minute after he made a great run from the flank inside and exchanged the pass with Farukh Choudhary and finally sent the ball home with a perfect placing shot from inside the D-box.

Manvir Sing doubled the lead for India in the 45th minute. Taking a delicate pass from Anirudh Thapa he beat the offside trap and sent the ball home with a perfect right footed angular shot after dodging past the Maldives custodian Ahmed Imaaz who came forward to clear the ball.

Back with a 2-0 lead, the Indian booters continued their domination after the resumption and created more scoring chances but failed to create any of those into goal.

In the 91+1 minute, Sumeet Passi got a chance to extend India’s lead but his header missed the target.

The Maldives also tried hard to stage a comeback in the match in the second half but in front of India’s organised defense the Maldives booters were seemed helpless and failed to produce any real scoring chances.

India dominated the entire proceeding and notched their deserving victory while the Maldives also got couple of scoring chances but failed to convert those into goal lack of proper finishing.

Earlier, India got off to a winning start in the championship with a 2-0 goals victory over Sri Lanka while the Maldives played out to goalless draw with Sri Lanka in both their respective group A opening matches.