Sri Lanka Men’s Football Team kicked off their South Asian Games 2019 campaign with a 0-0 draw against Maldives at the Dasarath Stadium, Kathmandu.
Maldives failed to convert numerous goal-scoring opportunities, while the Lankans failed to impress.
Sri Lanka’s starting eleven consisted of 9 players who are currently involved with the National Team taking part in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Joy Nithurshan and Mohamed Shaheel made their first appearance in national colours.
Sri Lanka formed with two upfront and four in the middle which showed positivity and an attacking mind set. However, it was Maldives who dominated the attacking play as several corners came their way. Sujan Perera had to make early saves to ease the nerves.
The Lankans were guilty of giving away procession cheaply and were caught out in defense. Attempted long passes from the Lankans did not work well as Maldives kept winning the high balls.
- Sri Lanka U23 Men’s Squad
- Waseem Razeek to join National squad
- Sri Lanka drowned by Lebanon master class
- Sri Lanka humiliated by Malaysia
- Fighting pack of nine punished for indiscipline
10 minutes before the break, Aman Faizer was substituted due to a hamstring injury and Sundaraj Niresh slotted in to the midfield. The Lankans were unable to keep possession for long periods of time which helped Maldives to control the game and keep attacking.
Substitute Niresh then was booked for a silly shoulder charge giving away a free kick. Thankfully Maldivian Akram Ghanee failed to take advantage and blasted the ball well over the goal.
Half Time: Maldives 0 – 0 Sri Lanka
The Lankans kicked off the second half and looked to speed up the play, trying quick passing in their own half. But, it was Maldives who benefited out of it and the Lankans defense was unlocked. Sujan Perera made a crucial save and denied Ibrahim Hussain a goal-scoring opportunity.
Maldives came close in the 57th minute when an Akram Ghanee free kick hit the crossbar after Jude Suman gave away a free kick in front of the box.
In the 65th minute the Lankans were let off the hook once again when Riham Ghanee skewed his shot a couple of feet from goal after some good build up play and a cross from the left flank by Hamza Mohamed.
Sujan Perera was the hero once again in the 76th minute as he made a brave save to deny Hamza Mohamed after the striker was sent through with a neat pass.
Reckless Niresh was then sent off in the 79th minute for a second bookable offence as the Lankans had to play the final 10 minutes with 10 men.
Ibrahim Hussain could have clinched the winner for Maldives in the 88th minute but he failed to connect with a half volley. Sujan Perera was beaten in flight and the forward wasted the golden opportunity.
Sri Lankans ended with a point in a game where they failed to turn-up.
Full Time: Maldives 0 – 0 Sri Lanka
Maldives – Naiz Hassan 82’
Sri Lanka – Sundaraj Niresh 40’ & 79’
Sri Lanka – Sundaraj Niresh 79’