Sunil Chhetri scored a brace for the Blue Tigers.
India beat Maldives 3-1 in a dominant display, as Sunil Chhetri scored a brace after Manvir Singh had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was an assured presence and the midfield was well run by young generals – Suresh Singh Wangjam and Lalengmawia.
After the win, India have setup a final date with Nepal on 16th October. Let’s take a look at the player ratings following India’s victory against Maldives:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu- 8.5
An outing that will give the Indian No. 1 a lot of confidence going into the final of the tournament, Gurpreet was confident in his forays outside his box and saved two brilliant free-kicks in the 64th and 79th minute.
Pritam Kotal – 6.5
The Indian right-back was average positionally but found his crossing boots in the 27th minute. He should’ve shielded better in the 44th minute, as his tackle saw India give away the penalty from which Maldives equalised. Otherwise, had a safe outing.
Rahul Bheke – 7.5
Bheke was smart and brave in his one-on-ones against Ali Ashfaq and was strong aerially. He covered for a poor misplaced pass from Subhasish Bose in the ninth minute. However, earned a poor yellow in the 23rd minute himself.
Subhasish Bose – 5.0
Began the game on a poor note with a basic error in the ninth minute that gave Maldives striker Ali Ashfaq a sniff at India’s goal. Later on, earned a red card for a clumsy foul in the 93rd minute. Needless errors.
Mandar Rao Dessai – 5.0
He was replaced by Chinglesana Singh Konsham in the 36th minute and Subhasish took up the role of left-back. Mandar looked lost during his short stint on the pitch.
Suresh Singh Wangjam – 7.0
Did the dirty work well in midfield in the absence of Glan Martins. He won a smart free-kick in the seventh minute with some slick footwork. Kept the ball cleanly and ran the show without hogging the limelight.
Mohammad Yasir – 7.0
The player with a gifted left foot, Yasir started the match with two basic misplaced passes. However, he kept going for the entire game, pulling off defenders to create space for Manvir and Sunil regularly. His nimble-footedness and dribbling also added to India’s trickery.
Lalengmawia – 8.0
The one who deserved the limelight. Played way above his physical stature and showed maturity beyond his years. Lalengmawia didn’t run on the pitch, he glided.
His touches and the weight of his passes were arguably better than any other player on the pitch. His positioning was brilliant through and through.
Brandon Fernandes – 6.0
Brandon, India’s most creative outlet, didn’t have the best outing according to his standards. However, his 26th-minute free-kick and the well-weighted through pass to find Manvir for the first goal were highlights. Brilliantly weighted, Chhetri could only find the bar. The Indian No. 10 would look to contribute more in the next games.
Sunil Chhetri – 9.5
What can be written about him that hasn’t been written already? While a Portuguese is trying overhead kicks in a different continent at 36, here in India, we have our own version.
After hitting the post in the 26th minute, he scored to make it 2-1. Added another to take the match away from Maldives. India’s best by a mile.
Manvir Singh – 9.0
Followed his fellow striker Sunil Chhetri’s lead well. The pair displayed a sound understanding of each other’s positioning and pulled defenders off each other. Broke his 15-match barren run in national colours with the first goal and assisted India’s second.
Chinglensana Singh- 6.0
Was a dominant presence on the pitch, and showed why he’s one of the hottest properties for the future. Attacked well during set-pieces and distributed the ball well. Earned a yellow card, but it was a tactical foul.
Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Rahim Ali and Udanta Singh didn’t make any noteworthy contributions.