Ali Ashfaq once again proved to be the thorn in the side of Sri Lanka as his early goal secured all three points for the Maldives in a 1-0 win in the 7th match of the SAFF Championship 2021 at the National Football Stadium, Maldives.
SRI: Sujan Perera (GK & C), Duckson Puslas, Dillon De Silva, Charitha Rathnayake, Chamod Dilshan, Harsha Fernando, Jude Suman, Chalana Chameera, Waseem Razeek, Kavindu Ishan, Marvin Hamilton
MDV: Abdul Ghanee (C), Mohamed Faisal (GK), Samooh Ali, Sifaau Yoosuf, Ali Ashfaq, Ibrahim Aisam, Hamza Mohamed, Ali Fasir, Haisham Hassan, Ibrahim Hussain, Hussain Nihaan
Hosts Maldives came into the game needing a win to have a chance of getting into the final while Sri Lanka looked to end the tournament on a high after just a point from three games.
Just in the 5th minute Sri Lanka thought they had the lead when a cleverly taken free-kick by Dillon De Silva was head in at the far post by Chalana Chameera but the linesman rather unfortunately had the flag up for off-side.
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The disappointment doubled a minute later as Sri Lanka conceded on the other end. Chalana Chameera’s poor defending saw a cross from the left smartly headed home by Maldives star-man Ali Ashfaq.
The game was played at a frantic pace as both sides created chances at will and had a couple of near-misses at each end.
Half Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 1 Maldives
Behind a packed partisan crowd, Maldives produced much of the same in the 2nd half but poor finishing bailed Sri Lanka out every time. The sea of red was at full voice throughout the 90 minutes making it that much difficult for the visitors.
Sri Lanka were all over at the back but were good up front, albeit for the poor execution when it came to the critical moments and had to be disappointed with the loss.
Full Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 1 Maldives
- MDV – Ali Ashfaq 6’