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Ashique 35′
Chhangte 47′       


The young Indian squad showed impressive maturity and exciting skill to floor Sri Lanka and start their SAFF Cup campaign with all three points. The Blue Tigers dominated the whole game and should’ve scored a few more goals, but were denied by the brilliant of the superb shot-stopper that is Sujan Perera. Sri Lanka looked lifeless going forward and created too many problems for themselves in defense, which allowed Stephen Constantine’s men to enact full control and play some stunning football. This is Uttiyo Sarkar signing off for Khel Now. Thanks and Good Night, Ladies and Gentlemen!

90+3 India get a great chance to add another before the end of the game, with Chhangte again putting in a dangerous cross into the met which Farukh can’t get himself to connect with. The full-time whistle blows seconds after it, sealing a well-earned win for the Blue Tigers. 

90+2 Sri Lanka finally create a chance, as Afeel Mohamed picks out a sweet throughball for Madhusan, who is free on goal but is adjourned offside before he can put the ball into the back of the net. 

90′ Poojari does some showboating on the left-flank, as he does a step-over before going past his defendr and charge into the penalty area, but the ball is sent out of danger before he can pass it. 

88′ PERERA SAVES! The Sri Lanka goalkeeper has been really good at saving chances today and makes another one after Chhangte’s cross from the right meets the powerful header of Choudhury, which is parried away by Perera to deny India another one. 

85′ Sri Lanka finally get some share of the ball and move it around in midfield pretty well. The ball is played to Ishan, whose ambitious attempt from long way out is deflected and falls perfectly to Kaith. 

82′ Sujan Perera is having a really busy day at the office today. He’s had to make another save, this time from Manvir Singh who hits a powerful effort from just inside the box which is parried away pretty well by Perera. 

81′ Poojari wanders into midfield again, before finding some space which allows him to hit a scuffled shot which Perera struggles to get to, but saves pretty well. 

80′ Rai already shows signs of his creativity after coming on and plays in a clever pass to the right for the maurauding Sarthak Golui, but its sent off for a corner.  Meanwhile for Sri Lanka, Sajith Kumara goes off to make way for debutant Sasanga Dilhara

78′ Chhangte is found free again on the left-flank after a water break, as he reaks into outside the area and sends in a dangerous cross which is cleared off impressivel by Sri Lanka’s defense. Meanwhile India make their third and final change, as Vinit Rai comes on for Thapa. 

76′ The Sri Lanka goalkeeper can’t hold onto anything at the moment! Thapa emerges inside the box and plays a sweet ball to Farukh, whose weak shot is shockingly scuffled by Perera, who is relieved to see his defenders bail him out of trouble. 

74′ Nervy moment for Perera! Manvir uses his strength and lays off the ball to Chhangte on the left-flank and his menacing cross is almost scuffled by the Sri Lanka goalkeeper, who barely managed to send it out for a corner. 

71′ CHANCE! Lovely work from Sajid Dhot to steal the ball and maraud forward and the defender picks out a beautiful ball to Farukh Choudhury, who takes it well and hits a shot which rattles the crossbar and out. Manvir Singh gets to the rebound, but his poor shot is cleared away. Unlucky for the Jamshedpur FC striker! 

70′ Sumit Passi goes off to make way for Manvir Singh. 

69′ Poojari has been full of intent after coming on and must have impressed the coach. THe Blue Tigers are still in full control of the game and Sri Lanka doesn’t seem to be energetic enough to come back in the game. 

66′ Thapa’s troubling corner isn’t cleared that well by Sri Lanka and the rebound falls to Poojari, whose volley-shot goes way wide of the target. 

64′ Nikhil manages to steal the ball right outside the penalty area on the right and sends in a cross, but Chhangte slips inside the box and can’t connect a shot before Sri Lanka clear the ball out of danger. 

61′ AB Warakagoda receives a yellow card after a horrible, late challenge on Sumit Pass on the left flank. 

59′ Poojari looks to create an instant impact as he receives the ball on the right flank minutes after coming on, but he can’t get past Sri Lanka’s defense and ends up fouling Kumara instead. 

57′ Substitution for India. Ashique goes off for Nikhil Poojari. 

54′ SAVE FROM KAITH! Sri Lanka finally churns up an attack through the right-flank, as Kavindu Ishan lays off a decent pass for Rahuman, whose low shot is collected really well by Kaith. 

53′ Ashique receives a yellow card for a poor challenge on Kumara, something which was not needed at all at this point of the game. 

50′ Just when it looked like Sri Lanka were going to launch some attacks, they were disappointed by conceding this cheap goal. India look mighty in confidence and Chhangte in particular looks menacing on the left. 

47′ GOOALL! India double their lead through Chhangte! The winger received the bal on the left flank and went past Ratyanake and attempted a cross, which luckily for him crept into goal over the head of the clueless Perera. 2-0! 

46′ Sri Lanka kick off the 2nd half! They’ve made one change, with Asela Madhushan coming on for Afeel Mohamed. They try to charge from the front, but India do well to retain the ball and are aiming to assert control. 

7:31 PM The teams are back into the field. Can Sri Lanka mount a comeback or will India add to their misery? Kickoff in a few minutes, stay tuned folks!

Half-time Analysis: It has been all team India in the first half so far and have attained the lions share of possession in the half. While Sri Lanka did well to frustrate the young stars of India and even threatened with a few half chances, a lapse in concentration allowed Ashique Kuruniyan to put India ahead through a sweet finish in the 35th minute. Stephen Constantine’s men will be gutted to not have more in the bag, but Sujan Perera has to be praised for keeping his side in the game with some stunning saves of Germanpreet and others. 

45+2 Sri Lanka tries to create a chance before the half time when a promising ball from midfield is sent towards the left flank, but the winger couldn’t get to it. Half-time! 

45′ Sri Lanka seems to have already gotten exhausted and are just hanging on before the half-time whistle. Two minutes of added time announced!

43′ Thapa has done well to assert control in midfield, as he sends in a beautiful chipped ball into the box to Ashique, but the ball is cleared before the winger can pounce on it. India send in another cross from the left afterwards which is superbly held onto by Perera. 

40′ Another chance goes begging for Chhangte. The left-winger receives the ball inside the box and hits a left-footed volley which just blazes over the top of the goal. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka make a change as captain Madushan goes off for Fernando Harsha.

38′ CHANCE! The corresponding freekick from Ishan’s foul is sent in beautifully by Subhasish Bose to Germanpreet Singh, who was unmarked inside the box and hit a powerful header which is amazingly saved by Perera. 

37′ The Indians were knocking on the door for very long and finally get their breakthrough! Meanwhile, Thapa is on the receiving end of another bad tackle and Kavindu Ishan is booked for the challenge. 

35′ GOOOALL!! INDIA LEAD! It’s that man Ashique Kuruniyan, whose switch to the right flank has worked wonders. He is sent through on goal on the right after some defensive lapse for Sri Lanka and doesn’t make a mistake in slicing the ball into the net. 1-0!

34′ Chhangte and Ashique seem to have changed wings to try and trick the defenders. Chhangte is sent through freely on the left wing, but his horrible cross sails into the back. Sujan Perera is also shown a yellow card for taking too much time on his spot-kicks. 

31′ The players cool off for a drinks break under this uncomfortable, heated conditions. It seems like the conditions have already tired out the players and the Indians are facing difficulties in playing more freely. 

27′ Chhangte tries to give a presentation of his pace on the right flank as he takes on and gets past a few Sri Lankan defenders but overruns the ball which goes out of play in the end. 

24′ Anirudh Thapa has been at the receiving end of some crunching challenges this evening, as he’s barged over by Ashikur Rahuman, who is lucky to escape a yellow card. 

21′ India have been put under a bit of pressure with Sri Lanka’s unpredictable attacks. Ashique is being heavily marked on his flank, which is not allowing Stephen Constantine’s men to move through that side. 

18′ Chance for Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka finally get out of their own area and get a free-kick from long way out. But the confident Rifaz takes an ambitious shot which is well wide of the target and Vishal Kaith seemingly had it covered anyhow. 

16′ The Blue Tigers receive another free-kick after a blatant handball from Mohamed Rifaz, but Chhangte’s dipping ball in was collected really well by Perera.  

13′ CHANCE! A terrific cross from Subhashish Bose from the left-flank finds a creeping Lalrinzuala Chhangte at the far post, but his shot was a poor one and went way off target. 

11′ India receive a free-kick in midfield after a dangerous tackle from Sajith Kumara brings down Anirudh Thapa. The defender was lucky to not receive a booking, while India’s corresponding free-kick goes straight to Perera. 

8′ The game has gotten off to a relatively slow start but has been one which India have dominated so far. Ashique Kuruniyan looks dangerous on that left flank and could come up with something special tonight. 

6′ Sri Lanka tries to pounce on India’s sloppiness after a corner, when they create a stunning counter-attacking move through the right, but the ball is cleared out of danger just as it reaches the Indian penalty area. 

3′ The Blue Tigers are looking to attack through the wings early in the game and create a decent chance when a terrific cross from the right is flicked over danger by Sujan Perera. 

1′ KICKOFF! India start off proceedings and will attack from the right to left. 

6:25 PM The teams are slowly making their way into the pitch for this opening match of Group B. The national anthems are about to take place followed by the toss. We’re just minutes away from kick-off now!

6:20 PM An Ambitious, young team put out by coach Stephen Constantine, who is opting to play Ashique Kuruniyan on the right wing with Lalrinzuala Chhangte on the left flank. The last time India played Sri Lanka at the SAFF Cup in 2015, the Blue Tigers won 2-0 thanks to a brace from Robin Singh. Can strikers Sumit Passi or Farukh Choudhary come up with something similar today? Stay tuned folks, kick-off is minutes away. 

6:15 PM Substitutes:

India: Kamaljit, Patil, Davinder, Jerry, Sharma, Rai, Murthy, Chandrashekhar P, Manvir.

Sri Lanka: Kaveesh L.F., Dhanushka, Supan, Nittharshan, Harsha, De Silva, Dilhara, Zarwan, Madhushan. 


India XI: Kaith (GK), Golui, Sajid, Salam, Bose (C), Chhangte, Thapa, Germanpreet, Ashique, Farukh, Passi.

Sri Lanka XI: Perera, Madushan(C), Warakagoda, Pulas, Kumara, Rifnaz, Rahuman, Ishan, Fazal, Mohamed, Ratnayake. 

6:05 PM Looks to be a fine evening in the Bangabandhu Stadium here in Dhaka. The Indian players are rigorously doing their pre-match training and preparing themselves for what assures to be an exciting opener against Sri Lanka. 

Also Read- I won’t say that we’re going to start as favourites in the SAFF Cup- Stephen Constantine

6:00 PM Hello everyone it is a delightful evening here in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka and it is a delight to host India’s SAFF Cup 2018 opener at the Bangabandhu Stadium against neighbors Sri Lanka. The weather is just perfect and all the spectators are also coming in to experience the two sides plying their trade against each other this evening. Stay tuned, this is your host Uttiyo Sarkar and enjoy the game.

Match preview- India begin SAFF Cup experiment against unpredictable Sri Lanka