Sri Lanka squander lead against Laos yet again

Sri Lanka came into the 2nd friendly encounter against Laos after a dismal second half performance in the first game which cost them a 2-1 loss, as the hosts scored 2 goals just minutes before full time. It was a similar story in the 2nd game too as Sri Lanka drew 2-2.

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Team Sri Lanka came into the second game of the tour under pressure after losing the first game. The team suffered a huge loss ahead of game 2 with Kavindu Ihsan being sidelined with a shoulder injury, one  that could keep him out of the qualifiers against Macau.

Unsurprisingly coach Packeer Ali made only 2 change to the starting line up as Dilip Peiris came in for Mariyadas Nidarsan and Naveen Jude who came as an early sub also started as Kavindu Ishan was out injured.

Dilip Peiris got a free header in the 2nd minute of the game from a Mohamed Fazil cross after an early corner for the Lankans that was partially cleared. Dilip could not get the header on target.

Madushan de Silva was guilty of giving away too many cheap free kicks early, in his own half and helped Laos penetrate the Lankan box. Both teams struggled to get into a pattern of play as the Lankans looked to send long ball to the forwards to chase.

Laos looked the better team, retaining the ball whereas the Lankans struggled to string passes together. However, Sri Lanka got the better attacking plays through consecutive corners which they couldn’t capitalize on due to poor deliveries.

In the 25th minute, Laos got their first opportunity at goal. After a good chest down by Somax Keohanam, Thipphachanh Inthavong failed to connect and hit high from 15 yards to let the Lankans off the hook.

Unlike the first game, the midfield of Sri Lanka did function better and combined with the front three. This resulted in continuous pressure on the Laos defense and midfield. Clear cut opportunities were few and far between for the Lankans and they were left to make long range efforts, which didn’t trouble the Laos goal keeper Xaysavath.

The first save by Lankan keeper Sujan Perera came in the 39th minute through a free kick from 25 meters out. A shot over the wall by Phoutthasay Khochalern was on target, but handled comfortably by Perera.

Just before the break Dilip Peiris got a glorious opportunity to score his first senior goal after a long throw by Harsha Fernando fell to him at a difficult angle. Unfortunately, his shot sailed across the face of goal.

The Lankan were the better team overall in the first 45 minutes. They racked up 8 corners however had only 1 shot on target to show for as the referee closed the half at 0-0.

Half Time – Laos 0 – 0 Sri Lanka

The second half started with the Lankans sticking to the starting 11 whereas Laos brought in 4 subs out of the allocated 6.

5 minutes into the half Harsha Fernando sent in a customary long throw. To everyone’s surprise the defender Thinnakone Vonga failed to deal with it and the ball flicked his head and went to the far post to give the Lankans the lead.

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Sri Lanka buoyed by the goal, upped the tempo slightly and fought for every ball. They did manage to keep hold of the ball in pockets as Laos tried to initiate attacks from their defense.

From the time of the goal, till hour mark both teams were guilty of mistimed challenges resulting in frequent stops. The Sri Lankans were on the receiving end more than the hosts.

After Mohamed Aakib made his debut in the first game, another schoolboy Shabeer Razooniya made his first senior appearance when he replaced Madushan de Silva in the 67th minute.

In the 69th minute Sujan Perera sent in a long goal kick which fell to Mohamed Aakib. Aakib struck a wonder goal from 30 meters out, right through the hands of the Laos goal keeper to increase the advantage for the Lankans. Young Aakib has now scored 2 in 2 for Sri Lanka.

Laos got a life line through a penalty in the 78th minute when Jude Suman brought down the Laos forward who also went searching for a foul. Incidentally this is the 4th penalty Suman has given away in 5 matches. The game was held for a long period as the Lankans protested against the call and other calls earlier in the game.

The discipline of the players should be addressed as Mohamed Aakib was sent off with a second yellow card for arguing with the referee. The first yellow was for removing his jersey after he scored the goal. In game such as a friendly encounter, the Lankans were not happy with some of the calls and constantly argued with the referee.

Soukaphone stepped up and converted the spot kick to make the score 2-1.

With time running out, the Lankans went hammer and tong to clear their defensive lines. Laos came close to equalizing through a corner in the 87th minute with a header just going wide.

Chalan Chameera was brought in for Naveen Jude in the dying minutes to bolster the defense.

As it was in the first game, Laos managed goals in quick succession when Soukaphone netted in the 92nd minute after Sujan Perera and Jude Suman got in each other’s way, gifting the forward the ball and an open net to tie the game and break Sri Lankan hearts.

Once again the Lankans conceded the winning position, raising questions over the mental and physical strength of the team in lasting 90+ minutes. Head coach Packeer Ali too showed his displeasure after the game as the Sri Lankans folded away.

Full Time – Laos 2 – 2 Sri Lanka

Goal Scorers
Sri Lanka – Thinnakone Vonga (OG)50’ Mohamed Aakib 70’
Laos – Soukaphone 83’ 92’

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