The Blue Tigers registered a convincing 3-1 lead over the Maldives to progress to the final of the SAFF Championship on Wednesday. Forward Manvir Singh scored the first goal for India, while skipper Sunil Chhetri scored a brace to take the team past the defending champions and enter the final.
The Indian football team finally showed what they are capable of as they mauled hosts Maldives 3-1, to make it to the final of the SAFF Championship 2021 on Wednesday. The first goal came from Manvir Singh in the 33rd minute, while skipper Sunil Chhetri scored a brace to take India home against the defending champions.
Coming into the match, India needed an outright win to be able to make it to the summit clash, and the Blue Tigers did just that. But the start wasn't as sound for the visitors as the defensive unit lacked coordination. That meant that the Maldives team created some chances in the first half. Chhetri too came close to giving India a lead through a freekick, but the ball went on to hit the crossbar.
But soon after that, Manvir Singh found the net to hand India the lead.
It was Maldives' turn to strike back after that. Pritam Kotal committed a foul in the penalty area, and Ali Ashfaq made the most of it. Come the second half, the Indians displayed better skills, despite being left with 10 players on the field. The two forwards Manvir and Chhetri combined well to get the ball past Mohammed Faisal, the Maldivian goalkeeper.
A few minutes later Chhetri came up with an excellent header to seal India's win.