SAFF Cup: India defeats Pakistan 3-1 to soar into final

Manvir Singh struck twice and Sumeet Passi bagged a late goal to steer India to a 3-1 win over Pakistan and into the 2018 SAFF Cup final.

India coach Stephen Constantine embraces Manvir Singh after the latter scored the opening goal of the evening.   -  [email protected]

Hello and welcome to the LIVE updates from the second semifinal match of SAFF Cup 2018, between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.

There is the full-time whistle! Seven-time champion India cruises into the final with a 3-1 win over Pakistan. Stephen Constantine's side will defend its title against Maldives in Saturday's summit clash.

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

89' Late change for India: Ashique is replaced by Vignesh Murthy.

87' GOAL TO PAKISTAN! Hassan has looked dangerous all evening and his persistence finally pays off as he scores his side's first goal of the game and his third of the tournament. Incidentally, this is first time India has conceded in the tournament so far.

86' Oh boy, there's two red cards here! Pakistan's Mohsin Ali and India's Lallianzuala Chhangte are both sent off for an altercation.

84' There's the third goal! Ashique plays the provider again as he loops in a delightful cross and substitute Passi heads it in to give India a three-goal lead.

82' India's hero of the evening, Manvir is stretchered off . He is replaced by birthday boy Sumeet  Passi.

81' Second change for Pakistan: Saadullah comes on for Absulah Qazi.

80' Ten minutes to go and India has a comfortable two-goal lead. Will the boys sit back and defend it out or will they look to extend their lead?

78' Substitute Adil makes a fine run down the right flank and is brought down by Ashique.

75' Vinit Rai picks up a yellow card.

74' First change for Pakistan: Shahbaz Younas is replaced by Adil.

72' Mahmood Khan goes into the book.

70' MANVIR AT IT AGAIN! Vinit Rai lays it up for Manvir and he unleashes a powerful drive to score his second goal of the night. India leads 2-0.

69' Salam Ranjan heads way a cross and Pakistan wins a corner.

67' Stephen Constantine makes his first change of the evening: Nikhil Poojari is replaced by Lallianzuala Chhangte.

65' OUCH! Davinder goes down after being fouled and Pakistan's Qazi appears to stamp him on the back! Qazi needs to be careful, he's already on a yellow card.

63' A lovely chance for a counter here. Ashique races towards goal and has Nikhil and Manvir for company. He plays a late pass to Nikhil but the latter struggles to get past his defender.

60' India has dominated possession for large parts of this game, Pakistan has managed only 40 per cent possession so far.

58' That's a fine inswinging Pakistani corner and forces Vishal make a fine save.

57' Goalscorer Manvir goes into the book for a rash high challenge. That's the second booking of the evening.

55' That's Pakistan's first attack of the half. But the cross is far too wide.

52' India seems to be in a bit of a spot here. Anirudh Thapa appears to have injured himself and is limping!

51' Abdullah Qazi picks up the first yellow card of the match.

48' THERE'S THE OPENER! An excellent team goal. Ashique runs down the left flank and plays a delightful pass to Manvir Singh, who coolly guides the ball past the Pakistani goalkeeper to put India ahead. This is Manvir's second goal in as many games. India leads 1-0.

 

46' The Indians begin where they left off. Nikhil makes a fine run down the right flank but fails to direct his cross.

And we're back. An exciting 45 minutes of football awaits!

That's the end of the first half. Both teams have had their share of chances but neither has been able to find the back of the net. Scoreline remains 0-0.

45+1' How did he miss that? Hassan is found in the box by a lovely lob and all he had to do was get his header on target but he sends it well above the crossbar.

45' There will be two minutes of added play.

45' What a howler! Davinder Singh assumes the ball is out of play and stops in his tracks, only for a Pakistani player to claim the ball and surge towards the India goal!

44' Hassan's freekick is blocked by the Indian wall. Pakistan wins its first corner of the game.

43' Pakistan wins a freekick on the edge of the box. This seems promising!

41' Back to back corners for India here. India has had as many as nine corners so far.

40' Action on the other end! Farukh shoots across goal and his attempt just manages to streak past the goal.

38' This was a promising chance but Pakistan failed to make the most of it. The indirect freekick is dealt with and Hasan has a shot on goal of the rebound but Kaith makes a fine save.

36' Is that a back pass? The referee thinks so! He's awarded Pakistan an indirect freekick in the box. Will we see the opener?

35' Mohsin shoots with the outside of his boot but the attempt hardly troubled Kaith.

33' The outfield doesn't seem to be getting any better. Players are often slipping and are resorting to more lobs.

30' Thirty minutes into the tie and the scoreline remains unchanged at 0-0.

28' WHAT A SAVE! Ashique fires a powerful drive from the left and Butt makes a stunning diving save to parry it away for a corner. The Indians  are upping the ante here!

25' This has to be India's best chance of the half so far. Farukh stages a stirring run into the box and dodges past a defender to unselfishly lay the ball for Manvir in the box, but the latter slips and fires a meek attempt on goal.

23' India wins a freekick in the attacking third. Ashique delivers a cross to the far post but and Salam Ranjan leaps above the defence but his header is well off target.

21' Farukh Choudhury launches a cross into the box but the 'keeper gets to the ball ahead of the Indian striker.

19' Manvir has a go from the around 20 yards out but is unable to find the target.

15' Stephen Constantine's side has dominated the last ten-odd minutes. Some spirited attacking moves on display here.

13' The Indians are pushing ahead with great vigour and the Pakistan defence is combining well to hold on.

10' Ten minutes into the tie and the Indians have kept the Pakistan defence on their toes. Vinit Rai fires one from distance but goalkeeper Butt parries it above the goal.

8' End to end action here. Hassan has his attempt saved by Vishal Kaith and India moves on the counter. Manvir receives the ball on the edge of the box but his attempt lacks venom.

7' Oh that was a fine chance. A lovely cross is looped in and Riaz has a crack at it but his header sails just wide.

4' The outfield looks pretty bad and has worn out after the first semfinal. The ball is barely rolling on the grass. Air balls galore?

2' India wins the first corner of the match. Anirudh Thapa floats one in but the Pakistan defence clears it with ease.

 

And we're off! This should be a fun contest. The winner of this contest will face Maldives in the final.

India moved into the last-four stage after beating Sri Lanka and Maldives with the same 2-0 goal margin.

However, Pakistan won its opener against Nepal 2-1 and lost the second group game to host Bangladesh 0-1. Then it defeated Bhutan 3-0 to book a berth in the semifinals.

RELATED | India, Pakistan renew rivalry in semifinal clash

Surely the magnitude of the match against the arch-rival and the pressure of a knockout fixture should make the past results less significant for either side.

India and Pakistan last played, five years ago in the SAFF Cup edition of 2013.

India coach Stephen Constantine has downplayed the hype that usually accompanies India-Pakistan clashes.

"We are aware of the contest. But that is nothing different. It’s just another match. We can't let the occasion get over us and hopefully, we will beat them to advance to the final,” Constantine said.