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Afghanistan storms into the SAFF Cup final after 1-0 victory against Nepal

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Afghanistan storms into the SAFF Cup final after 1-0 victory against Nepal

Afghanistan vs nepalThe Afghan National Football Team narrowly beat Nepal 1-0 in the semi-final match of the 2013 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup on Sunday night. After its harrowing victory against the tournament hosts, Afghanistan will face-off against the winner of the second semi-final match between the Maldives and India in the championship game set for Wednesday night.

Although the game’s only goal scorer was Afghan attacker Sandjar Ahmadi (#11) who scored early on in the ’11 minute of play, the hero of the match was undoubtedly Afghanistan’s goalkeeper Mansur Faqiryar (#1) who kept a clean sheet and his team in the lead despite an onslaught of pressure from the Nepal side in the second half of the match.

Faqiryar managed to saved a penalty kick on a dubious call that left him with a yellow card for knocking a Nepalese player down while coming out to grab an aerial cross. Much to the chagrin of the Nepalese side, the astonishment of the crowd and the untamed joy of his teammates, Faqiryar managed to save a second penalty kick immediately after the first when an Afghan player was whistled for encroachment. He then came up big again in the last moments of stoppage time before the final whistle blew when he made a diving save to keep out a header from a Nepalese forward.

Faqiryar has only allowed a single goal in the SAFF tournament, which he conceded against Sri Lanka in Afghanistan’s 3-1 victory during group play. He managed a clean sheet against both of Afghanistan’s other Group B opponents in a 3-0 victory against Bhutan to begin the tournament and a 0-0 draw last Friday against fellow semi-finalists the Maldives.

Although the Maldives and Afghanistan both earned seven points in Group B, the Maldives ended on top of the group table on account of goal aggregate. There large lead in goal aggregate was the result of their 10-0 win over Sri Lanka in their opening match of the tournament.

After Sunday night’s victory, Afghanistan will face off against the winner of the Maldives versus India semi-final, which is set to be played on Monday night. The championship match on Wednesday will be broadcasted live on TOLO and Lemar TV. (Source: Tolo News)

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