New Delhi, Sep 13: India will face Maldives in the finals of the SAFF Cup on Saturday (September 15) at Dhaka. This will be the fourth occasion when the two nations will meet in the final of this competition.
India U23 boys defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the semifinal as Manvir Singh scored twice against the arch-rivals in an ill-tempered clash. Maldives, meanwhile, defeated Nepal in the second semifinal to set up the summit clash with India.
Coach Stephen Constantine's India U23 side topped the Group B after beating Maldives 2-0 in their final group game at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Sunday (September 9). But they are not going to take their opponents lightly as they defeated Nepal 3-0.
Winger Lallianzuala Chhangte, who came on in the second half for Nikhil Poojary, was involved in a tussle. Mohsin Ali was running down the left flank but Chhangte intercepted the run with his great agility and gained possession of the ball. While he was shielding the ball from Mohsin, the Pakistan forward landed his leg on Chhangte's calf and brought him down.
Chhangte lost the ball and fell on Mohsin, who continued to shove Chhangte even after the Indian had gone to the ground. An incensed Chhangte reacted by pushing Mohsin away and almost landed a punch on the Pakistani. Chhangte was shown red card and will miss the final.
Venue: Bangabandhu Stadium, Dhaka
Timing: 7:00 PM (IST)
TV Channel: D Sport
Live Streaming: Jio TV and Airtel TV
What does Coach Constantine have to say:
"Maldives have shown their worth in the semi-final against Nepal. A 3-0 win against Nepal was not an easy task. Some of their players didn't play against us and they did some major damage work against Nepal," Constantine said. "We are expecting a tough game against Maldives. But as I said before, we have come with a strong intent to win the tournament."
Our boys have come up with an incredible performance in the @SAFFSuzukiCup semi-final against pakistan to advance to the final.— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 12, 2018
PC- Lagardere Sports#AsianDream #BackTheBlue #WeAreIndia pic.twitter.com/scmFVY0fum
Manvir Singh has already shifted his focus to the final:
"They were a group of tough guys and the job was never going to be an easy one. But we had the self-belief to churn out the positive result and eventually, we did," Manvir said. "Now, we have another major task in three days and we will need to focus on the final. We are working as a unit and we just need to keep our heads down and continue the work," the 23-year-old striker, who is leading the goal-scorers' chart with 3 goals, added.