Maldives players celebrate after scoring their first goal against Nepal during the Suzuki SAFF Championship first semi-final match yesterday in Dhaka. -AA
Maldives reach Suzuki SAFF Championship 2018 final thrashing Nepal by 3-0 goals in first semi-final football match yesterday at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. The first-half goal from Akram Abdul Ghanee and the late braces from Waheed Hassan do the job for Petar Segrt's side.
The day's first semifinal was stopped for about half an hour due to rain and thundershower in the capital. Maldives lead the game courtesy a ninth-minute goal from captain Akram A Ghanee. With the drizzling making the pitch a little slippery, the Maldives appeared more attacking in the opening minutes.
Their pressing approach forced Nepal into their own zone. Their penetration paid dividends in the ninth minute as forward Ali Fasir was brought down at the left edge of the Nepalese box and Akram Abhul Ghanee, the Maldives skipper, saw the consequential free kick loop into the far post net (1-0).
Nepal intensified their attack in pursuit of the equaliser and Bharat Khawas tried his luck with a long range drive in the 18th minute and chipped the ball over from a handshaking distance following a goalmouth melee in the 24th minute.
With the game growing hot with attacks and counterattacks, Ali Fasis was ruing his chance in the 25th minute miscuing a right footer from the top of the eight yard box. The game saw an unusual impede just in the stroke of the half hour when the Match Commissioner stopped the proceedings due to extreme thunders.
Both the teams left the pitch before the game resumed after thirty minutes break. The former champions, the Maldives, will play final on September 15 at 7 pm against the winner of the second semifinal between India.
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