Maldives in semis riding on toss

Staff Correspondent | Published at 10:25pm on September 09, 2018


Indian players celebrate one of their two goals against Maldives during their SAFF Championship match at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Sunday. — Sourav Lasker

Maldives completed the line-up of SAFF 2018 Championship semi-final despite their 0-2 to loss to India in their final group match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.
The fate of the team was decided by an unprecedented coin toss after both Maldives and Sri Lanka ended with equal point and their goal aggregate was same.
With no other option to separate the teams, the organiser of the tournament decided to hold a toss, which smiled upon Maldives leaving Sri Lankan coach Pakir Ali and captain Subash Madhushan frustrated.
Defending champions India, who have won their both matches against Sri Lanka and Maldives with identical 2-0 margin, will now face group A runners-up Pakistan in the first semi-final of the tournament.
Maldives on the other hand will face group A champions Nepal in the other semi-final.
Both the semi-final matches will be held on the same day on September 12.
India had already confirmed their semi-final ticket before the match following their win against Sri Lanka in the first match and the second group match between Maldives and Sri Lanka ended with goalless tie.
However, India, who came with their Under-23 side, never seemed relaxed as they pressed hard from the beginning of the match and controlled every position of the field with better passing and skills.
India could take the lead in the ninth minute of the game when Maldives midfielder Mohamed Arif saw his clearance of a Nikhil Chandrashekhar head hit his own woodwork.
Maldives midfielder Mohamed Irfan tried his luck with a left-footer from a goalmouth scramble in the 31st minute but his effort was blocked by India keeper Vishal Kaith.
Nikhil gave India the lead in the 36th minute when he found a through pass from Faruk Chowdhury and darted into the penalty before chipping home into the right side of the advancing Maldives keeper Mohamed Faisal.
Manvir Singh confirmed India’s victory in the 44th minute when the forward placed the ball into an empty net after beating past the keeper on a one-on-one at the bottom of the box.