Striker Manvir Singh scored a brace as
defending champions India stormed into final of the SAFF Suzuki Cup when they
beat Pakistan by 3-1 goals in the second semi-final held on Wednesday at
Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The 7-time Champions of SAFF Championship India will now play the final
against Maldives, which bagged their spot of final by beating Nepal by 3-0
goals in the first semi-final.
The final is scheduled to be held on Saturday (Sept 15) at the same venue.
It was an entertaining match which saw both teams went attacks and counter
attacks throughout the play. Pakistan started strong early on, flourishing
upfront but the blue Tigers, led by Thapa and Vinit from the middle and
Ashique and Nikhil Poojary from the flanks hosted an array of attacks onto
the Pakistani half. Pakistan rattled the Indian defence, especially in the
first half, but couldn't produce any goal.
Pakistan went attack early in the very 1st minute when Muhammad Ali's
right footed shot off Hassan Bashir pass from outside the box but misses to
Pakistan again came close of scoring in the 7th minute when Mohammad Riaz
header from the centre of the box off a cross from Mehmood Khan missed to the
right the target following a set piece situation.
India got a great chance of scoring in the 25th minute. Farukh ran down
with the ball from the middle and took off the marker which a back touch,
passed it back to Manvir, but the forward's attempt was brilliantly fisted
for safety by Pakistani custodian Yousuf Ijaz Butt.
India missed another scoring chance in the 38th minute when Faruk Hazi
Kasam's left footed placing shot from the center of the box went out of play
beside the right side bar.
Pakistan was deprived from a certain goal in the 46th minute when skipper
Saddam Hussain's close header off a curling cross from Hassan Naweed narrowly
missed the crossbar by an inch.
After the resumption, India took control of the second half with an
Manvir Singh finally broke the deadlock for India in the 48th minute.
Ashique Kuruniyan ran down and provided a cross to onrushing Manvir who
placed the ball home from near post with a right footed placing shot. Manvir
again doubled the lead for India in the 69th minute. The lanky striker
blasted into the top corner with a perfect right footed shot from the right
side of the box off a short pass from Vinit Rai before substitute
Lallianzuala did the spade work from the left flank.
Substitute Sumeet Passi party scoring the third goal for India in the 84th
minute with a close header utilizing on a cross from Ashique Kuruniyan from
Hasan Bashir pulled one back for Pakistan in the 88th minute when a loose
header fell on him as his scorcher blazed through the left bottom corner and
India custodian Vishal Kaith could do but to watch the ball.
Lallianzuala Chhangte of India and Mohsin Ali of Pakistan were shown red
card in the 86th minute for violent conduct.
Earlier, India got off to an auspicious start as blanked 2-0 to Sri Lanka
in their tournament opening match. The blue Tigers with big names like Sunil
Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Sandesh Jhingan, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu missing, the
young U-23 squad � led by Subhashish Bose � also recorded a 2-0 goal win over
the Maldives in second Group match.
On the other hand, Pakistan began their campaign with a comfortable 2-1
victory over Nepal in Group A.
However Pakistan lost to 0-1 to Bangladesh in their second group match
before ending their group stage campaign with an overwhelming 3-0 victory
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)