Holders India make winning start

Staff Correspondent | Published at 12:05am on September 06, 2018


Indian forward Ashique Kuruniyan (C) scores his team’s opening goal against Sri Lanka during their 12th SAFF Championship match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday. — Sourav Lasker

Defending champions India made a winning start in the 12th SAFF Championship when they beat Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.
Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianziala Chhangte scored one goal apiece for the most successful nation in South Asia’s most prestigious tournament.
India’s English coach Stephen Constantine brought Under-23 national team for this tournament which they have won seven-times.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, failed to repeat their performance that they showed against Bangladesh in a FIFA International friendly match at Nilphamari on August 29.
The young Indian side, which took some time to take control the game, initiated most of their attacks through the wings.
India also looked much fitter then the charges of Pakir Ali as they often beat Lankan players with their pace and skill.
Sumeet Passi, the Indian no 10 was a constant threat for Lankan defence but Sri Lanka keeper Sujan Perera made some great saves to keep India content with two goals.
Ashique gave India the lead in the 35th minute by placing home past an advancing Sri Lanka keeper Perera following a brilliant defence-splitting through pass from Sumeet Passi.
Lallianziala Chhangte doubled India’s lead with just two minutes into the second half with an accidental goal.
The left winger tried to provide a cross from the right side of the box but he saw his effort went over the Sri Lanka keeper before finding the right corner of the net.
Farik Haji almost made the scoreline 3-0 in the 71st minute as he tried a powerful shot from just inside the box, but saw his shot hit the woodwork.
India will face Maldives in their second and last Group B match on September 9 while Sri Lanka will take on Maldives on Friday.