The Maldives smartly reached the final of the seven-nation 12th SAFF Suzuki Cup'2018 stunning Nepal by 3-0 goals in the rain-marred first semifinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the city on Wednesday, reports UNB.
The former champions, the Maldives, will play final on September 15 at 7 pm against the winner of the second semifinal between India and Pakistan scheduled to be held from 7pm on Wednesday at the same venue.
The day's first semifinal was stopped for about half an hour due to rain and thundershower in the capital.
Captain Akram Abdul Ghanee scored one goal while Ibrahim Waheed scored two goals in a span of only two minutes for the Maldives, which dominated the first half by a solitary goal.
The Maldives who came to the semifinals riding on the coin in the toss saved their best for the last to outplay Nepal who after falling behind early did all apart from scoring a goal.
Nepal which smartly reached the semifinals as Group champions by virtue of better goal difference denying host Bangladesh again completed the SAFF campaign before reaching the final.
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.
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