India went down 1-2 to Maldives in the final of the SAFF Cup 2018 at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Ibrahim Hussain and Ali Fasir bagged the goals for Maldives, while Sumeet Passi managed a consolation for team India.
Maldives took the the lead through Hussain. As the Indian defence switched off, the islanders made their chance count as a through ball was played to Hussain, who dinked it over an onrushing Vishal Kaith.
The Indians barely had any notable chances, as they opted to play from the right. Nikhil Poojary, in poor form, wasted most of his deliveries as Manvir Singh was starved of service.
Stephen Constantine hooked Davinder Singh at half-time, replacing him with Germanpreet Singh, switching to a three-man defence. That wasn’t enough to prevent India from shipping a second when Sarthak Golui played Ali Fasir onside.
Fasir, through on goal, rolled the ball past Kaith as Maldives doubled their lead. Constantine opted to remove Anirudh Thapa and Farukh Chowdhury, and introduced Passi and Hitesh Sharma.
Sharma’s corner in the 82nd minute evaded everybody, as Subhasish Bose inexplicably failed to get a touch to it. With five minutes added on, Passi gave India a glimmer of hope in added-on time.
Poojary, wasteful all evening, delivered a low cross which Passi got on the end of, finishing at his near post. That goal was to be a consolation, as Maldives won their second SAFF Cup title.