Nyamosor Naranbold’s second-half penalty spot brace earned Mongolia a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka that keeps his nation’s hopes of a place in the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016 semi-finals alive.
Naranbold scored in the 50th and 66th minutes to give the Mongolians their first win of this year’s competition and sets up a crucial showdown with Laos on Wednesday as the two countries battle it out for Group B’s remaining berth in the last four.
The result confirms Macau’s position as Group B winners and also means Sri Lanka are eliminated from the competition with their game against Macau on Wednesday still to play.
Mongolia controlled the tempo throughout much of the first half as they dominated possession, but it was the Sri Lankans who carved out the better opportunities even though neither side was able to find the back of the net in the opening 45 minutes.
Nipuna Bandara’s attempt from the edge of the area gave ‘keeper Batsaikhan Ariunbold a few problems in the seventh minute while Mohamed Rifnaz stabbed his effort just wide following Johar Zarwan’s 18th minute corner.
At the other end, Serodyan Gankhuyag looked set to give the Mongolians the lead in the 32nd minute when Oyunbat Bayarjargal headed Batmunkh Erkhembayar’s cross from the right into his path, only for the shot to go wide.
The Sri Lankans closed out the half in attacking mode, and it was something of a surprise that Dudley Steinwall’s team were unable to go into the break without at least a goal to their name.
Kavindu Ishan’s pace down the right unnerved the Mongolian defence and his low pass into the box was eventually fired across the face of goal by Bandara.
Rifnaz bent his side-footed effort just wide of the post two minutes before the break while Zarwan was also just off target with his attempt in the dying seconds of the half.
Half time – Sri Lanka 0 – 0 Mongolia
Five minutes into the second half, Sri Lanka were to rue those missed opportunities as the Mongolians took the lead.
Naranbold’s speculative shot at goal through a crowded penalty area smashed into the arm of Edison Figurado and referee Muhammad Nazmi Nasaruddin had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Naranbold stepped up to thump his spot kick into the top corner of Sujan Perera’s goal.
Sixteen minutes later, the Mongolians claimed their second also from the penalty spot when Sujan Perera was adjudged to have brought down Battur Davaajav after he latched onto Bayarjargal’s perfectly weighted through ball and Naranbold scored again to seal the win.
Mongolia will now play Laos on Wednesday and a draw will be enough to take Toshiaki Imai’s team into the knockout phase of the competition.
Full time – Sri Lanka 0 – 2 Mongolia