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September 13, 2018

Pakistan go down to India in SAFF Cup semis


September 13, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan lost 1-3 to defending champions India in the semi-final of South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF) at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka on Wednesday.

India’s Manvir scored a brace. Sumeet Passi scored the third goal. The match started on an aggressive note. In the initial 10 minutes, India’s Nikhil came close with a low cross but that was cleared by the Pakistani defence.

In a counter attack, Pakistan almost scored a goal to get the lead when Mohammad Riaz headed the ball on a free-kick but it went wide. Later, Mehmood Khan tried to net the ball twice on two free kicks but the Indian goalkeeping was hard to tackle for him.

Pakistan’s defence once again proved good when they warded off an attack by kicking the ball away inside the box when Ashique Kuruniyan passed it to Manvir. India’s Manvir shot straight from a distance at the Pakistani keeper who managed to save.

In the 16th minute, India attacked through Vinit Rai who made a long-range shot that tipped over the bar. Through the resulting corner was wasted, India kept Pakistani defence on their toes.

India made another brave attempt through Manvir but it too got wasted. India created three good chances in the last five minutes. In the 40th minute, an indirect free kick was awarded to Pakistan inside the box when the referee adjudged Sarthak to play a backpass which was collected by the Indian keeper Vishal.

India’s Vishal then made a few crucial and brilliant saves before the goalless first half. Pakistan looked slightly better in the second half, bringing more effort in their play but did not succeed and gave too much space to India to come through.

At the start of the second half, India’s Manvir scored a goal on a pass from Ashique to break the deadlock, giving the blue shirts 1-0 lead in the 69th minute. Manvir committed a rash challenge soon afterwards and thus received a yellow card.

But that yellow card did not create any problem for Manvir as he struck again to give India 2-0 lead. The move was started by Chhangte, streamlined by Rai, and elegantly finished by Manvir.Soon after the goal, Manvir received a head injury and was replaced by Sumeet Passi, who gave India 3-0 lead through a goal which was well assisted by Ashique.

India’s Chhangte and Pakistan’s Ali were sent off for a scuffle towards the end of the match. Pakistan’s 28-year-old Muhammad Ali was able to score the only goal for Pakistan in the 88th minute with an attempt from outside the box to the bottom left corner assisted by Hassan Bashir.

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