Sri Lanka dominate in loss, Medal hope under threat

South Asian Games 2019 – Men’s Football

The Sri Lanka Men’s U23 Football Team, unbeaten in 2 games in the South Asian Games 2019, played Bangladesh in their third game here at the Dasarath Stadium, Katmandu. A narrow 1-0 win for Bangladesh put the Lankans’ medal hopes in the balance.

Suman’s screamer silences Nepal

Sri Lanka U23 Men’s Football Team’s second match of the South Asian Games 2019 was played against hosts…..

Sri Lanka came into the game knowing a win would put them in a very strong position and in contention of a Medal. The disadvantage Sri Lanka faced was this was their 2nd game in two days. The match between Nepal which ended 1-1 was quite physical and intense and took a lot of the team.

Dilip Pieris made way to the returning Sundaraj Niresh to bolster the midfield as Mohamed Aakib moved to a more attacking role. 

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Both teams started off at a pedestrian pace as neither team looked to push too many upfront. Early opportunity came the Lankans’ way when Naveen Jude found space in the opponent’s half. With 1 defender and with an option to his left Jude’s heavy touch gave away the possession.

Immediately after Lankans gave away procession in their own half and Bangladesh capitalized when they sent a long ball to the right wing and the unmarked winger found Mohbubur Rahman who converted the cut back as Sujan Perera advanced. Duckson Puislas was unable to clear the shot off the line as Bangladesh took the early lead. 

Both teams had good ball time and played with confidence. The Lankans were slightly ahead with procession and looked composed on the ball. Sundaraj Niresh came close to scoring when he took a low free kick at almost the same position as Jude Suman’s screamer.

Minutes later Mohamed Aakib came close to equalizing with a volley attempt which went agonizingly close to the right upright. It was Bangladesh’s turn next where Sujan Perera made another good save to deny Mohammed Hassan. Bishwanath Ghosh then scuffed a shot when he found space behind the Lankan defense.

In the 36th minute Mohamed Aakib was then withdrawn due to an injury and Dilip Pieris took his place upfront.

Half Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 1 Bangladesh

Sri Lanka dominated play in the second half and kept hold of possession and asked questions of the Bangladeshi defense. Bangladesh switched to a 3-5-2 format to disturb the midfield domination of the Lankans.

Duckson Puislas made a couple of marauding runs from the back, however he was not able to find or release any of his attacking players.

Just a couple of minutes after the hour mark substitute Dilip Pieris was substituted with Alfred Thanesh for his first game of the competition. With the change Chamod Dilshan moved to the striker’s role as Thanesh slotted to the left wing.  

The game rose to a higher level with the Lankans going in search of an equalizer which opened up the defense. Sujan Perera made a good save from a long range effort. Afterwards Bangladesh got a great opportunity with Mohammad Hassan but he couldn’t get the final pass in. 

With 10 minutes to go the Lankans lost their 3rd striker to injury when substitute Alfred Thanesh was replaced by Sasanka Dilhara. Mohammad Ibrahim could have put the game to bed when he had only Sujan Perera to beat inside the penalty box, but his side foot attempt went away from goal, keeping Sri Lanka in the game.

The Lankans toiled hard in looking for an equalizer, however they were left disappointed as this was the best footballing performance they displayed in the competition. 

Full Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 1 Bangladesh

Goal Scorers
Bangladesh: Mohbubur Rahman 11’

Cautions
Yellow Cards:

Sri Lanka: Sundaraj Niresh 74’
Bangladesh: Mohbubur Rahman 33’, Mohammad Hassan 79’

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