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India enters the final

Male: Gourmangi Singh’s last-gasp goal in the second half of the extra time sent India to the final of the SAFF football Championship as the defending champion scraped past Bhutan 2-1 here on Wednesday.

After the regulation time ended in a 1-1 stalemate, a penalty shoot-out looked the only way out of the impasse when Gourmangi’s curling shot cleared India’s passage to the final.

In Saturday’s final in Colombo, India will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Bhutan took the lead in the 18th minute through Kinley Dorji before India equalised in the 30th minute through Sunil Chetri.

In the previous match too, Gourmangi had scored the all-important goal when India beat Maldives.

India’s profligate forwards, including captain Baichung Bhutia, either lost the plot once they reached the rival box or squandered opportunities that came their way.

Throughout the match, Bob Houghton’s wards were stretched by their unfancied rivals and the coach heaved a huge sigh of relief after managing to advance to the final. — PTI

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