A relentless rearguard performance from Sri Lanka saw them draw 0-0 against neighbours India in the 5th match of the SAFF Championship 2021 at the National Football Stadium, Maldives.
Sri Lanka, World Ranked 205th, came into the match on the back of a 3-2 loss to Nepal but had a morale-boosting 2nd 45 minutes. India ranked 107th in the world drew 1-1 against Bangladesh in their opening game.
SRI: Sujan Perera (GK & C), Duckson Puslas, Dillon De Silva, Charitha Rathnayake, Asikur Rahuman, Harsha Fernando, Jude Suman, Chalana Chameera, Waseem Razeek, Kavindu Ishan, Marvin Hamilton
IND: Sunil Chhetri (C), Suresh Singh, Udanta Singh, Glan Martins, Anirudh Thapa, Liston Colaco, Seriton Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao, Gurpreet Singh
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From the start, India had almost 80% of the possession while Sri Lanka sat deep in their half and looked to go on the counterattack. India, who struggled to get into a rhythm, only had one shot in the first half and that too was off target.
Half Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 0 India
After the break, India played with renewed energy creating a few chances early in the 2nd half, but none were on hand to take advantage of it. India finally had the ball in the back of the net in the 72nd minute after a scramble and a deflection inside the box but the referee disallowed the goal as there was a foul on a Sri Lankan player leading up to it.
Sri Lankan players went down on numerous occasions due to injury which didn’t bode well with the Indian players and coaching staff and they were seen in heated discussions with the referee. Nearing the 90th-minute Subhasish Bose had a golden opportunity to score the winner off a deflected header from a corner, but he could only fire the ball over from point-blank range.
Referee did allow 8 minutes of injury time and with time running out, India threw everything at the Sri Lankan defense, who stood tall to deny a goal.
Full Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 0 India