SAFF Suzuki Cup
The Maldives in final for fifth time
The Maldives boys, SAFF Suzuki Cup's luckiest team, are going to play the final for the fifth time sending Nepal packed by 3-0 margin in the first semifinal on Wednesday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Earlier, FIFA's 161st ranked Nepal came to play the semifinals as the champions of Group-A while the 200th ranked Maldives confirmed the semifinals as the runners-up of Group-B.
The local fans were frustrated when host Bangladesh failed to get ticket to semifinals with six points winning two matches when the Island country is said the luckiest team of the event which confirmed the super four round without even winning a group match.
Also on Wednesday, the Maldives only possessed the ball for 33 per cent times. The fortune favoured them in many ways. Despite absence of their best scorer Ali Ashkaq in the event, they managed to take a quick lead in the ninth minute.
Nepal's keyplayer Bimal Gharti Magar illigally grounded opponent striker Ali Fasir and Lankan referee HC Dolan Perera awarded a freekick to the Maldives. Defender and skipper of the Maldives Akram Abdul Ghanee took the freekick with his left foot and the fans begin cheering after the ball hit the bottom left corner of the box.
Ali Fasir may double the lead for the Maldives if his shot had not flew by the right sidebar in the 23rd minute.
Afterwards, the Maldives boys squandered more than five chances to extend the margin.
However, the match was interrupted and paused for about 25 minutes due to heavy rain and thunders.
Receiving a cross of Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain, Maldives striker Hassan Naiz curved the ball towards the post thought Nepal's vigilant custodian Kiran Kumar fisted it quickly.
The Himalayan boys were near to pay a goal in the 62nd minute when Bimal aimed the post with a powerful shot yet opponent custodian Mohammad Faisal had held the fort blocking the shot timely.
Ibrahim Waheed scored his first to extend the margin for the winners in the 84th minute and utilising a mistake of the Nepal custodian, he scored his second and the team's third goal to nail Nepal's coffin in the 86th minute.