SAFF Championship 2018: India vs Maldives - 5 Talking Points
India picked up another 2-0 win against Maldives in their second game of the 2018 SAFF Cup to confirm their progress into the semifinals. The goals came in the first half, securing the game early for India.
Nikhil Poojari and Manvir Singh were the goalscorers; India's four goals so far have come from four different players and the third from a winger.
Maldives actually started the better of the two sides with some initial pressure, winning a series of corners. But after those initial 10 minutes, the game was more in the balance and once India took the lead, they had the momentum on their side.
The second goal from Manvir moments before the half-time whistle gave India the cushion they needed and left their opponents with a nervous second 45 minutes to get through as in the event of a loss here, the scoreline would determine whether the Maldives would make it through to the semis. India having beaten Sri Lanka 2-0 in their opener, Maldives needed to not lose by a bigger margin.
In the end, the second half provided no more goals as the game meandered towards its finish. India now play Pakistan in their semi-final clash.
Here were the main talking points from the game:
#1 Constantine makes 5 changes
Looks like India coach Stephen Constantine is using the two group games to finalize what his best eleven will be, come the knockout phase.
The Englishman made five changes to the team that won the opening encounter against Sri Lanka. Davinder Singh replaced Sarthak Golui at right-back while Jerry Lalrinzuala played at left-back; Subhasish Bose, who was captain for the first game, moved from his favoured left-back position to centre-back to make way for Jerry.
Vinit Rai replaced Germanpreet Singh as partner to Anirudh Thapa in central midfield. Nikhil Poojary, who came on as a sub last time, started on the right flank in place of Ashique Kuruniyan. Up front, Manvir Singh got the nod after taking the field as a sub in the first game.
Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, defenders Bose and Salam Ranjan Singh, Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Farukh Choudhary were the players to retain their starting spots.