Marvin Hamilton scored a long range stunner and Dillon De Silva converted a penalty deep into injury time, but Nepal defeated Sri Lanka 3-2 in the 4th match of the SAFF Championship 2021 at the National Football Stadium, Maldives.
SRI: Sujan Perera (GK & C), Mohamed Aakib, Dillon De Silva, Charitha Rathnayake, Chamod Dilshan, Harsha Fernando, Mohamed Shifan, Chalana Chameera, Waseem Razeek, Kavindu Ishan, Marvin Hamilton
NPL: Kiran Chemjong (GK & C), Ananta Tamang, Gautam Shrestha, Suman Aryal, Bishal Rai, Pujan Uparkoti, Suman Lama, Tej Tamang, Anjan Bista, Nawayug Shrestha, Rohit Chand
Nepal had the majority of the possession, right from the start, albeit in their own half. It was Sri Lanka, with Waseem Razeek, Dillon De Silva and Mohamed Shifan upfront, who started off the game at a frantic pace. They were pressing up the pitch forcing errors and when they did get the ball, shot from distance, though not on target.
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A slick move on the right saw the Nepal attack leaving a couple of Sri Lankan defenders in their wake as Suman Lama’s effort deflected off Sujan Perera and bounced off the underside of the crossbar. With Perera scrambling to recover, it was Lama who was alert to prod home the rebound to give the Ghokalis the lead half an hour into the game.
The goal and the initial hectic pace the Lions employed seemed to have taken the bite out of the Sri Lankan attack as Nepal settled and took control of the game until half time.
Half Time: Sri Lanka 0 – 1 Nepal
Sri Lanka replaced Mohamed Aakib and Mohamed Shifan with Mohamed Fazal and Jude Suman to start off the 2nd half. A goal down and desperately needing a win, Sri Lanka attacked more but it was once again Nepal who doubled their lead.
A lapse of concentration at the back allowed the Nepal attack to get behind the defense and although the initial effort was partially saved by Perera it rolled through to Anjan Bista who hammered it into an empty net.
However, six minutes later, Marvin Hamilton injected life into the withering Sri Lankan bodies with a 30-yard screamer to the top corner. A Kavindu Ishan effort was denied on the line and a few phases later the ball rolled towards Hamilton, who took one touch and unleashed the thunderbolt leaving Kiran Chemjong no chance of coming even close to it, to score his maiden goal for Sri Lanka.
The islanders bossed the game from there onwards with possession and troubled the Nepal defense on a few occasions. However, with time running out, another miscommunication at the back allowed Ayush Ghalan to score the third with 4 minutes left.
Sri Lanka got a penalty deep into injury time which was calmly converted by Dillon De Silva, for his first goal for Sri Lanka, but it too little too late as Sri Lanka suffered their 2nd consecutive loss in the tournament.
Full Time: Sri Lanka 2 – 3 Nepal
SRI – Marvin Hamilton 57’, Dillon De Silva, 90+4’(P)
NPL – Suman Lama 33’, Anjan Bista 51’, Ayush Ghulan 86’