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India cruise past Afghanistan
- SAfF Cup l Ashim Biswas, D’Cunha net a brace each

Dhaka: After a disappointing defeat in their opening match of the third SAFF Cup, India returned to form with an empathic 4-0 victory against Afghanistan at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here Sunday.

India, who suffered a shock 0-1 loss against Pakistan on Friday, made light work of Afghanistan with Ashim Biswas and Alvito D’Cunha scoring a brace each.

Pakistan continued their dream run with another fine victory — this time over Sri Lanka. The 2-1 triumph made Pakistan the first team to book a berth in the semi-finals.

Ashim Biswas opened India’s account in the 30th minute, tapping a Jo Paul Ancheri back header from a close distance. It was the first international goal for the young Tollygunj Agragami striker, who made his debut only in the previous match.

The 19-year-old also scored the second goal in the 63rd minute with a spectacular header off a long throw by Abhay Kumar. Alvito, coming in as a substitute in the 72nd minute for Venkatesh then scored two more — in the 77th and 85th minutes — with lethal left foot finishes.

Veteran striker I. M. Vijayan had a disappointing outing for the second match running. He missed three sitters before India coach Stephan Constantine replaced him with Abhishek Yadav with the side leading 1-0.

Despite Sunday’s comprehensive victory, India still have work to do to ensure a passage to the last four. They will have to at least draw their final group A match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday to advance into the semi-finals.

That will enable them finish second as Pakistan are expected to put it across Afghanistan and top the group with an an all-win record.

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