Macau spoils a Sri Lanka win

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SL v Macau
Photo: Lagardère Sports

Sri Lanka bossed proceedings throughout the 90 minutes only to be denied by a late equalizer by Macau as the AFC Solidarity Cup group clash ended in 1-1 stalemate leaving Sri Lanka winless in the competition at the Negeri Stadium, Kuching (Malaysia).

Sri Lanka came into this game with all their hopes of progressing to the semifinals stage being shattered after losing both their group games to Laos (2-1) and Mongolia (2-0) respectively. With a matter of pride at stake the Lankans wanted to go out on a high with a positive result.

Sri Lanka approached this game with a sense of freedom among their rank as their reluctance to express themselves during the past few games seemed to have vanished. Zarwan Johar and Mohomed Rifnaz were displaying a scintillating style of football as they kept wondering in midfield with ample freedom.

Chalana Chameera who played as a right back made forceful runs up front, as the right side of field proved to be the most productive for the Lankans.

It was one such move that broke the dead lock in the 5th minute when Mohomed Rifnaz picked up the pieces from a menacing run by Zarwan Johar to set up the advancing Kavindu Ishan on the left to give Sri Lanka a much deserved lead.

The remainder of the half saw Sri Lanka continue to play with high intensity as Asikur Rahuman’s effort missed the target by inches as the worried Macau goalkeeper breathed a sigh of relief.

Despite the dominance the Sri Lankan players were guilty of not managing to produce the end product as few virtuous opportunities went a begging in and around the final third of the half.

Half time – Sri Lanka 1 – 0 Macau

The second half saw the intensity of the game reduce rather slightly although Sri Lanka remained in control of proceedings.

Sri Lanka came close on the 62nd minute when Mohomed Rifnaz header was flicked on by Kavindu Ishan only to be denied by the Macau keeper. The rebound was again fired on target by Edison Figurado only to be denied by the upright.

Macau hardly found their feet during the game as inconsistency plagued their progress going forward. Time and time again when Macau had possession of the ball they were pegged back by careless passing and a lack of vision.

Credit should be given to Sri Lanka as they closed down their opponents rather rapidly whenever Macau held onto possession.

However completely against the run of play Macau latched on to a loose pass from defence and after a comedy of errors from both parties the ball found its way to Chai Wei Hong in the 86th minute for him to tap the ball into an empty net, much to the despair of Sujan Perera and his defenders.

With Sri Lanka employing the long ball technique to regain their lead with the clock running down they couldn’t construct any productive passing moves. Their moves in and around the Macau penalty area paid little dividends as Sri Lanka couldn’t trouble the Macau goal with any strong effort.

The final whistle blew with Sri Lanka left pondering on a missed opportunity to register a moral boosting win at the end of a disappointing campaign however the style of football and energy shown by the Lankan players was commendable in a match which had little in it for them.

Full time – Sri Lanka 1 – 1 Macau

Speaking after the match the Coach of Sri Lanka Dudley Steinwall;

“We played some good football but luck wasn’t on our side throughout this tournament. We created a lot of chances but only managed to convert one that cost us at the end of the game. But I’m proud of how the players have progressed in this tournament, there are a lot of positives and we’ll certainly do better moving forward”

Goal Scorers

Sri Lanka – Kavindu Ishan 5’

Macau – Chai Wei Hong 86’