Dhaka, Bangladesh: Defending champions India overcame Pakistan 3-1 in SAFF Cup semifinal while Maldives beat Nepal 3-0 in the other semis at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
It will be a rematch between the two teams on Saturday, with India having beaten Maldives 2-0 in their Group B clash earlier in the tournament.
After a barren first half, India took the lead three minutes into the restart through Manvir Singh.
“We played very well from the beginning to the end. We have to give credit to Pakistan as well, they made a fantastic game of it, but overall we deserved to win. We had more chances, we dominated the game. I’m just disappointed we conceded a goal," said India coach Stephen Constantine.
Boosted by the goal, India pressed forward and Singh doubled their lead in the 69th minute when he rifled the ball into the top right corner of the Pakistan goalmouth.
Sumit Passi headed home India's third in the 84th minute before Hassan Bashir scored a consolation for Pakistan two minutes from full time.
Pakistan coach Jose Antonio Nogueira said: “First half, we did a good job. We pressed well, and we had good chances to score. So did they. But in the second half, we conceded a goal too quickly.
"We tried to score in the last minutes, but could only get one back. Overall, it was a really good game. I think it was the best game of the tournament."
Earlier, Maldives roared when it mattered most as they turned on the power to defeat Nepal 3-0.
Maldives had advanced to the semi-finals without scoring a goal as a coin toss gave them second spot in Group B behind India but they found their scoring boots to earn a first appearance in the final since 2009.
(Source: Lagardere Sports)