The strike duo of Sunil Chhetri and Jeje Lalpekhlua were on target as India recorded a clinical 3-0 win over Sri Lanka to advance to the semi-final of the SAFF football Championship, in New Delhi, on Wednesday.
Jeje found the net in the 50th minute of the Group A encounter, while Chhetri consolidated the lead in the 69th minute, as the defending champions finished second to set up a last-four clash with Maldives.
The third was an own goal, by Sri Lanka's Bandara Warakagoda, off a corner taken by Clifford Miranda in the added time.
Earlier in the day, Afghanistan thrashed Bhutan 8-1 to top Group A and set up a semi-final date with Nepal.
Both India and Afghanistan finished on seven points with two wins and draw each, but the latter topped the group thanks to their better goal difference.
On a high after their 5-0 win over Bhutan, India needed a draw to qualify, and if their approach was anything to go by, it seemed they would be content with a stalemate.
Lady luck, which was missing till then, smiled on the home side as Jeje's right-footer off a rebound put India ahead.
It was Chhetri who took the first shot, but that rebounded off goalkeeper Sujan Pereira, giving Jeje a chance to have a go at the goal.
Chhetri then got into the thick of things as he headed in a cross from Clifford Miranda, which gave the hosts a 2-0 lead and the Mohun Bagan player his fourth goal of the tournament, second behind Afghanistan's Balal Arezo who pumped in four goals against Bhutan.
Earlier in the first half, neither team was able to maintain possession for a prolonged period, though India held a slight edge at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.