Sri Lanka U18 Football team started their campaign in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U18 Championship with a 3-0 loss to Bangladesh.
The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) announced a 20 man squad who will take…
Sri Lanka can take heart on a positive display but will be disappointed with decisions going against them.
Sri Lanka got off to the worst possible start with 36 seconds on the clock. Bangladesh scored off a corner when Tanbir Hossain climbed higher than everyone and headed to the far corner.
Despite the poor start, both teams looked equally balanced as play moved back and forth. Shishan Prabuddha got an early glimpse of goal with a free kick just outside the box. His shot was straight at the goal keeper for an easy collection.
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In the 27th minute the Sri Lankans were denied a clear penalty when K. Thenushan was brought down inside the box after a good long ball from the back. Coach Mohamed Amanulla was furious with the poor decision which went against the Lankans.
Sri Lanka was the better team in the first half despite going to the break a goal down. Half opportunities came in the form of free kicks which the Bangladeshis defended well.
Abdul Basith, K. Thenushan and Shishan Prabuddha were excellent in the attacking half and P. Rexon, Mohamed Mushfir and M. Pirasanth in the back were the standout players in the first half.
Half Time – Bangladesh 1 – 0 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka took the game to the Bangladeshis from the start of the second half. Shenal Sandesh had a half appeal for a penalty when he was dislodged of procession in the penalty area. On the hour mark Mohamed Mursith in goal pulled off a brilliant save after a defensive error to keep the Lankans in the hunt.
The Lankans were denied a third time when an attempted headed clearance by Bangladeshi defender Yeasin Arafat struck his own hand. The referee awarded a corner instead of a penalty, much to the disappointment of the Lankan players.
Sri Lanka once again came close to scoring, this time a flicked header off a corner was saved by the goalkeeper. The ball fell into the path of Thenushan whose side step kick went over the bar much to the despair of the supporters and the bench.
The Lankan attack was relentless and kept coming, putting Bangladesh on the back foot. A number of corners came the way of the Lankan boys which kept the Bangladesh keeper busy along with his defense. Shenal Sandesh was menacing upfront, chasing and scrapping for possession.
Against the run of play Bangladesh won a corner in the 77th minute. Fahim Morshed unleashed a brilliant volley 30 meters out, beating Mursith in goal. Sri Lanka managed to clear the initial corner which fell to Fahim, who wrapped his boots around it.
The dejected the Lankan’s kept fighting and the final nail in the coffin came once again by Ahmed Fahim in the 86th minute.
Sri Lanka can count themselves unlucky with decisions going against them on more than one occasion. Next up Sri Lanka has to face India at the same venue.
Full Time – Bangladesh 3 – 0 Sri Lanka
Bangladesh – Tanbir Hossain 1’, Fahim Morshed 76’, Ahmed Fahim 86’