The Maldives secured top spot in their South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship group, playing out a nil-nil draw yesterday in Kathmandhu.
With both sides assured of a place in the semi-finals going into yesterday’s game, key players were rested, including the tournament’s top scorer Ali Ashfaq. His contribution to the Maldives impressive goalscoring thus far – 18 goals in two games, with 2 conceded – meant that his side topped the group at the final whistle.
The Maldives goalscoring prowess may come back to haunt them, however, as top ranked side India were unable to finish top of their own group, thereby setting up an encounter with their neighbours to the south in the next round.
India lost to hosts Nepal on Thursday (September 5), setting up their clash with the Maldives on Monday (September 9), with Nepal facing Afghanistan on Sunday.
The final will be played on Wednesday (September 11)