SAFF Cup final, Maldives vs India: Key highlights

Goals from Ibrahim Hussain and Ali Fasir guided Maldives to a 2-1 win over India to clinch the 2018 SAFF Suzuki Championship.

Ibrahim Hussain scores the opening goal for Maldives.   -  Twitter @SAFFSuzukiCup

Hello and welcome to the LIVE updates of the SAFF Cup final between India and Maldives.


Did you know? 2018 SAFF Cup champion Maldives reached the semifinal after it won a coin toss! Maldives was tied with Sri Lanka on one point at the end of the group stage and both sides even had the same goal difference. A coin toss ensued, which Maldives went on to win and today, the nation has won the tournament!

==> Maldives goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal wins the most valuable player award.

==> Manvir Singh wins the top-scorer of the tournament award.

THAT'S THE GAME! Maldives is the 2018 SAFF Suzuki Cup champion. The win comes 10 years after Maldives' first SAFF Cup title in 2008.

90+2' SUMEET PASSI PEGS ONE BACK! However, is it too little too late?

90' The fourth official has signalled for five added minutes.

87' Ashique has been at it al evening but no one has been able to finish his crosses. He delivers another fine cross from the left but the 'keeper gets there before Sumeet.

85' We have all of five minutes left. Too late for the Indian side to stage a comeback?

81' Maldives nearly makes it three! A well-coordinated team effort sees four players advance towards the Indian goal but the final shot is dragged wide.

79' What a wasted chance! Sumeet delivers a teasing cross that begged to be finished but the ball simply floats past Subhasish, who's caught napping.

77' The defending champ is pushing ahead but just can't find the all-important goal.

73' Bit of a gamble here from Constantine. He takes the ever-dependable Thapa off for Hitesh Sharma. 

70' The Indians have a huge task ahead of them with less than 20 minutes of play to go. Can the boys in blue stage a comeback?

67' India coach Stephen Constantine makes his first change of the evening. Sumeet Passi comes on for Farukh.

66' THERE'S THE SECOND GOAL! Hamza plays a stunning through ball to Ali Fasir, who guides it past Kaith to double Maldives' lead. India in all sorts of trouble here.

 

65' Goalscorer Hussain makes a surging run down the right flank and Thapa tracks him to win the ball back!

64' The Indians are getting closer but to no avail. Subhasish plays a hopeful ball into the box but 'keeper Faisal rushes off his line to collect the ball.

60' The Indians stage back to back attacks but just can't get past the Maldives defence.

56' It's raining fouls here at the Bangabandhu Stadium. Are we to see more cards?

52' Maldives custodian Mohamed Faisal has had an impressive outing so far. He's made a couple of fine saves and has displayed great agility to rush off his line and thwart away crosses.

50' Interesting. A Maldives substitute plays picks up a yellow card.

47' Oh what a chance! Manvir has a lovely chance to bring India back on level terms but his header sails past the post. He should have done better.

46' India stages an attack to begin the second half. An exciting half awaits!

Stay tuned for live updates from the second half.

That's the end of the half. The Indian boys jog off the pitch and will be expected to come back strong. Ibrahim Hussain's 19th minute goal keeps Maldives in the lead.

 

45+1' YELLOW! Indian captain Subhasish goes into the referee's book for a rough tackle. That's the first booking of the game.

45+1' Close! Sarthak tries to deliver a cross but the ball swerves towards the goal and just about misses the target.

45' The fourth official has signalled for two minutes of added time.

44' Nope, the move falls flat.

44' Sarthak Golui's long throw in is cleared for a corner. Can India capitalise?

42' That's a fine strike from Ali Fasir. He takes the freekick and tries to find the far top corner but the shot loops just above the goal.

41' Maldives have a freekick from a dangerous spot here. Davinder makes a rash tackle on Hamza and gives away a freekick.

40' Davinder Singh makes a terrible mis-hit to gift Maldives a throw deep into the attacking third.

38' Maldives captain Akram Abdul Ghanee has been replaced by Numaan. Will the captain's absence affect the side?

 

37' Manvir plays a fine low cross to Farukh but his man marker gets ahead of him to dispatch the attack.

36' Hussain Nihaan lets one rip from distance but fails to find the target.

32' That was close. Manvir has a go but his shot manages to find only the side netting.

30' HOW DID HE MISS THAT? Ashique plays a delightful cross to Farukh Choudhary and all the latter has to do is tap the ball into the net but he makes a mess of it. Maldives continues to remain in the lead.

26' The Indians look a little shook by the opening goal and need to get back to their attacking ways.

24' Ashique has a chance on goal but his header sails above the goal.

21' Maldives with another quick attack! The Indian defence manages to thwart the move.

19' WE HAVE THE OPENER! Ibrahim Hussain opens the scoring for Maldives. He is played into goal and he precisely lobs it past an onrushing Vishal Kaith to put his side ahead in the final. This is the first time India has conceded the opening goal in this tournament.

 

17' Neat. Some intricate passing sees the Indians advance towards the opposition box. Anirudh Thapa plays a lovely one-two with Ashique but the latter's cross is cleared.

13' The India defence, led by captain Subhasish Bose, has been pretty solid so far and has offered little room to the Maldives forwards.

9' Close! Ashique Kuruniyan plays a cross from the left and finds Manvir, who's off balance header flashes past the goal. India has done the major part of attacking in the opening ten minutes.

8' Maldives attacker Mohamed Samdhooh is face down on the pitch and needs medical attanetion. Nikhil plays the ball out of bounds to ensure he gets treatment.

7' India wins the first corner of the game. Nikhil Poojari floats a cross in but the Maldives defence is up to the task.

6' Maldives wins a throw in deep into India's half but it doesn't yield an attack. Goal kick to India.

3' India makes the first attack of the game. A cross is delivered to Manvir Singh but he can't get enough venom and goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal makes an easy save.

The players are on the pitch and we're seconds away from action!

Here are the line ups for the evening:

 

Boosted by an undefeated run, seven-time champions India will start as favourites against Maldives.

The Indian team, comprising under-23 players except for one, has been the only unbeaten side in the tournament. It has beaten Sri Lanka (2-0) and Maldives (2-0) in the group stage before prevailing over Pakistan (3-1) in the semifinals.

The defending champion will be chasing its eighth title in 12 editions and third back-to-back one as it seeks to continue its stranglehold in the regional tournament.

Maldives has not played in the final in the last three editions, losing in the semifinals each time. India, on the other hand, has played in the final of all the earlier 11 editions except in 2003.