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India vs Pakistan Football SAFF Championship Semi-final: India Thrash Arch-rivals Pakistan | September 13, 2018, 8:23 AM IST
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Catch all the live updates from the semifinal between India and Pakistan from the SAFF Cup through News 18 Sports' Live blog.

After a gap of half a decade, the Indian football team will take on traditional arch-rivals Pakistan in the second semi-final of the ongoing SAFF Championships in Dhaka on Wednesday. India, the defending champions, are aiming for an eighth title and the task this time is easier with the absence of Afghanistan from the competition. A much changed Indian team, namely the U-23 squad with Stephen Constantine at helm, registered easy 2-0 victories over Sri Lanka and Maldives to qualify for the semi-final against Pakistan but they have been far from convincing. Pakistan meanwhile, come into the contest on the back of wins against Bhutan and Nepal and a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. Pakistan have returned to international football after three troubled years, and have made it to the semi-final of the competition for the first time since 2005, with their best finish dating back to 1997 when they finished third.
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Sep 12, 2018 9:01 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 8:57 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 8:47 pm (IST)

GOAL! Hassan Bashir scores for Pakistan, out of nowhere. No one saw this coming as Pakistani no.10 takes a shot from outside the box and Kaith is rooted at his spot. He might not have spotted that one. Its now 3-1!

Sep 12, 2018 8:46 pm (IST)

RED CARD! Changte, who came on as a substitute is sent off for lashing out while on the ground while Mohsin Ali is also sent off for his reaction there. Pure frustration from the Pakistani and he pays the price. 

Sep 12, 2018 8:44 pm (IST)

GOAL! Sumeet Passi with an immediate goal here, Kuruniyan has been absolutely brilliant for India and again he finds Passi with the curling ball. The striker is free and gets his header into the back of the net. India lead 3-0.

Sep 12, 2018 8:41 pm (IST)

Manvir looks to be in some pain as he is stretchered off the field here, replaced by birthday boy Sumeet Passi. Final 10 minutes left in the game and India still lead 2-0

Sep 12, 2018 8:33 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 8:30 pm (IST)

GOAL! Manvir Singh seals the deal for India, Vinit Rai finds the striker who times his run well before blasting the ball into the back of the net. He is extremely delighted here and rightly so. India lead 2-0 with Manvir getting the brace!

Sep 12, 2018 8:27 pm (IST)

India introducing Changte now, who comes onto replace Nikhil Pujari. Nikhil has had a good game here and the Blue Tigers will be looking to see the game off with less than 20 minutes remaining

Sep 12, 2018 8:17 pm (IST)

Pressure now firmly on Pakistan as they lookto comeback into the game here, India will be happy to sitback after taking the lead. Still 1-0 to them with some time left

Sep 12, 2018 8:11 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 8:09 pm (IST)

GOAL! Superb from India and its Manvir Singh who has got the opening goal here, again a brilliant run from Kuruniyan, who finds Manvir inside the box. A proper striker's finish as he gets his foot on the ball to beat the keeper. India lead 1-0 with 49 minutes gone.

Sep 12, 2018 7:54 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 7:49 pm (IST)

So, that's half-time here and we are level at 0-0. Both teams having chances to take the lead but no one has really capitalised so far. India missing some wonderful chances and Pakistan coming closest to the goal with a header from Bashir that goes just over the bar

Sep 12, 2018 7:47 pm (IST)

Hassan Bashir almost gets the goal for Pakistan, great delivery by Saddam Hussain and Bashir rises to get his head to the ball. Again though he gets too much on it and the the ball goes over the bar. Still 0-0 here as we approach half-time

Sep 12, 2018 7:43 pm (IST)

Again a free kick for Pakistan in danger area, India conceding way too many free kicks in threatening areas. Again a foul on Ali as he looks to make the run from the centre.

Sep 12, 2018 7:39 pm (IST)

Backpass is caught by Kaith here and its an indirect free kick from inside the box to Pakistan, that looked like an ordinary decision though. looked like it was Davinder who got his foot on the ball and Kaith picked it up. The free kick though is saved as Kaith clears the ball

Sep 12, 2018 7:31 pm (IST)

30 minutes gone here and it is still 0-0, India have had their chances but still no opening goal for them. Nikhil Pujary on the right flank has been completely dominating here, India need a better delivery from him though

Sep 12, 2018 7:27 pm (IST)

Butt is certainly keeping Pakistan in the game here, again a diving stop to save Kuruniyan's shot. India's corner count though keeps rising here, already upto 7!

Sep 12, 2018 7:25 pm (IST)

Great run by Choudhary, beating the Pakistan defender with his blistering pace, passes unselfishly to Manvir who should have found the back of the net there, his shot though is saved well by the keeper.

Sep 12, 2018 7:23 pm (IST)

Free kick in a dangerous area for India but Kuruniyan with a poor delivery there, Pakistan easily deal with the danger and it is still 0-0 here

Sep 12, 2018 7:19 pm (IST)

The ground conditions look to be absolutely horrendous in Bangladesh. The box is almost devoid of any grass and the pitch looks wet as well. As far as the football is concerned, Manvir has certainly been quite lively for India but still no goal here. It is 0-0

Sep 12, 2018 7:12 pm (IST)

Vinit Rai with a shot from outside the box, just looking to place the ball but keeper Butt gets a solid hand on that as India force a corner. They are piling on the pressure here. 11 minutes gone and its 0-0

Sep 12, 2018 7:09 pm (IST)

End to end action early on here, Ali with a shot and Kaith gets down quickly to save on the near post. After that its India's turn as Manvir Singh almost gets the opening goal for Blue Tigers. Still 0-0 here

Sep 12, 2018 7:08 pm (IST)

Great chance for Pakistan here, Bashir with a superb curling ball inside the box and Muhammad Riaz makes a good run to get a solid connection on the ball, it goes just wide of the goal here. Pakistan certainly starting well here

Sep 12, 2018 7:04 pm (IST)

Nikhil with a superb run down the flank here for India but his cross is cleared by the Pakistani centre back. 5 minutes gone here and it is still 0-0

Sep 12, 2018 6:59 pm (IST)

Pakistan meanwhile, come into the contest on the back of wins against Bhutan and Nepal and a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. Pakistan have returned to international football after three troubled years, and have made it to the semi-final of the competition for the first time since 2005, with their best finish dating back to 1997 when they finished third.

Sep 12, 2018 6:52 pm (IST)
Sep 12, 2018 6:50 pm (IST)

The two sides last played an official match in September 2013 in Kathmandu. India had piped Pakistan by eking out a solitary goal on that occasion. Incidentally, Pakistan have qualified for the last-four of SAFF Suzuki Cup after 13 long years and they now lock horns with the seven-time champions, India. Constantine also lauded Nepal's achievements and called them deserving entrants into the semifinals. "Nepal have played some stupendous football and they have deservingly reached the semis. Hopefully, we get a win against Pakistan and face Nepal in the final," he maintained.

Sep 12, 2018 6:48 pm (IST)
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India vs Pakistan Football SAFF Championship Semi-final: India Thrash Arch-rivals Pakistan

"We are aware of the contest. But that is nothing different. It’s just another match. We can't let the occasion get over us and hopefully, we will beat them to advance to the final,” Constantine told the AIFF. After the first match against Sri Lanka, the Indian coach was categorical in his assessment and said he was unhappy with the way the team - inexperienced and young - played. Not much changed in the second game either as holding onto possession seemed to be a difficult task against an indecisive Maldives who were unable to capitalise on their chances. A profligate Indian attack though nicked it just in time once more and escaped with three points and a scoreline that flattered them. While Constantine will be hopeful that his team don't get over-awed on Wednesday at the Bangabandhu Stadium, it will be essential for them to hit their stride early on.

Opponents Pakistan survived the fall by the skin of their teeth as they just about managed to get the required goals to stay in the competition. The troubled team are without key players in former captain Kaleemullah who was not fit and has since signed for a Turkish fourth division side, while Danish footballer Adnan Mohammad had visa issues that barred him from joining the squad. Pakistan coach, Brazil’s Jose Antonio Nogueira took charge earlier this year and since has also helped the U-23 side register their first win in over four decades at the Asian Games. The team, who have been playing a positive brand of football is understandably elated as vice-captain and top goal-scorer of the tournament Hassan Bashir speaks of new Pakistani football.

Experienced Pakistan will hope to keep riding the wave and their most weapon will be through set pieces, especially against an Indian side over whom they have the advantage of physical superiority. "It's always special to play India. The match has a lot of history and the emotions involved are huge. The rivalry pushes everyone to give that extra bit,” Pakistan defender Zesh Rehman told the AIFF in Dhaka. "We have to be very cautious and can't afford to let the emotions take over us,” Zesh, the former Fulham FC player said.

The India-Pakistan rivalry is one that is always highly charged with emotions and in the previous 31 meetings, India have won 18 while and five. The last meeting was in 2013 in Kathmandu, when India beat them 1-0, before Pakistan were banned by FIFA for three years from 2015 onwards. India, led by Subhasish Bose, have been far from convincing and will look to the likes of Anirudh Thapa, Lalianzuala Chhangte and Nikhil Poojary to carry them through. But Pakistan have their tails up and a first ever final appearance at the SAFF Championships beckons. Pakistan’s players hope to use this performance and effort as a catalyst to revive the sport in their country while India and Constantine will hope to strengthen their bench with the all-important Asian Cup coming up in January.
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