Sri Lanka were left to blame themselves as two red cards costed them of a probable victory, going down to Turkmenistan 4-2 in the third and final group B match in the 2020 AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers at the Doha Sports City Aspire 4 pitch in Qatar.
Both teams were eliminated from progressing to the next round before the match. Sri Lanka started positively with Kannan Thenusan almost gaining the lead in the 6th minute after a good cross from Shabeer Razooniya on the left wing. Turkmenistan defender managed to block the shot to deny Thenusan.
Borjakov Aly came close to give the Turkmen the lead after a good build-up play but his shot from out of the box went inches past the upright. Hasika Navoda got into the referee’s books early for a deliberate block to thwart a breakaway move by Turkmenistan.
Mohamed Mursith nearly gifted Turkmenistan a goal when his clearance kick hit the Turkmenistan forward Myratberdiyev Rahman. Rahman got the return pass only to hit it wide, letting the Lankans off the hook.
Mohamed Sajid was a live wire for Sri Lanka on the left of midfield and orchestrated moves going forward. Sajid once again was the playmaker when he worked his way beautifully and released Shabeer Razooniya on the left. The cut back from Shabeer to Sajid was blocked away by the defense.
Mohamed Kursith was booked for a careless foul as the careless and needless fouls mounted for Sri Lanka.
Thereafter, Lankans took the lead through Mohamed Sajid in the 42nd minute. A long throw by Abdul Barsith was flicked back by Mohamed Kursith while Sajid climbed the highest and headed into the far corner.
Minutes later, Kursith got himself sent off for a second yellow card after an ill-timed challenge saw him head-butt a Turkmenistan midfielder.
Chopanov Resul then hit the wood work in added time after he found himself free inside the Lankan box. Shishan Prabudda was booked for another careless foul as the referee called half time.
Half Time: Turkmenistan 0 – 1 Sri Lanka
The 10-man Sri Lanka came into the second half with a 4-4-1 formation. They looked solid in defense and did not shy away from attacking when given the opportunity. Razooniya almost doubled the lead with a powerful shot which was saved by Ahallyev Rustum at his near post.
The defense and midfield of the Lankans were disciplined and played as a unit as Turkmenistan tried hard to beat the defense. Lankans kept possession when they won the ball back and looked to attack rather than kick it away. After a wonderful built up play Thenusan’s indecision, with just the goalkeeper to beat, denied Sri Lanka another goal.
Mohamed Mursith kept the Lankans in the game with a sharp save from Borjakov Aly. He was unable to do so when Chopanov Resul converted from a poorly defended corner to level the game in the 63rd minute.
Sri Lanka suffered another blow in the 66th minute when Hasika Navoda was sent off for a second yellow card offense after a moment of madness. The resulting free kick was taken brilliantly by Borjakov Aly to give the lead to the Turkmen.
Lankans then started to crumble as Turkmenistan took advantage of the 2 extra men. Hydrow Shamammet scoring easily after a long ball broke the defense.
The resolute Lankans did not give up and struck almost immediately through Mohamed Sajid this time going around the keeper and slotting it into the goal. Thenusan gave the assist with a good pass to beat two defenders.
With their tails up and searching for an equalizer, the Lankan side was bold in the attack even with 9 men. The final hammer blow came in the 89th minute when Myratberdiyev Rahman calmly slotted the 4th goal for Turkmenistan as Mursith could only parry the initial shot onto the path of Rahman.
Full Time: Turkmenistan 4 – 2 Sri Lanka
Turkmenistan – Chopanov Resul 63’, Borjakov Aly 67’, Hydrow Shamammet 78’, Myratberdiyev Rahman 89’
Sri Lanka – Mohamed Sajid 42’ & 80’