Dhaka, Sep 7 (UNB) – Sri Lanka and the Maldives shared the match points, playing out a goalless draw in the seven-nation SAFF Suzuki Cup under floodlight at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday.
After the day’s results, both Sri Lanka and the Maldives have their hope alive for a berth to the last-four, which depends on the results of Sunday’s (September 9) Group ‘B’ match between the holders India and the Maldives.
The seven-time champions India reached the semifinals from three-team group ‘B’ with one match to spare as they have three points with a 2-0 win against Sri Lanka on September 5.
Sri Lanka and the Maldives have one point each after the match, but the Maldives are ahead as they conceded no goal.
Sri Lanka changed the game mood by starting to play a forceful game after the 65 minutes to the end for creating some chances.
In the stopgap time after 90’s, Sri Lankan midfielder Ashikur Rahman’s right footed shot from outside the box went high and wide to the right posy while defender Nicholus Harsha Fernando’s right footed shot from outside the box was blocked by the goalie.
Maldives midfielder Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain also squandered a chance in the stopgap time as his right footed shot from the right side of the box was saved by the goalie in the centre of the post.
Sri Lanka missed a lucrative chance in the 82nd minute as midfielder Hewage Kavindu Ishan’s shot from the box cleared by Maldives defenders off a rebounder goalie, who fisted forward Asela Madushan’s shot from the box to clear.
H K Ishan missed two successive chances within a one and half minute as his left footed shot from the centre of the box was saved by the goalie in the top right corner in the 82nd and in the next minute his right footed shot from the same position also saved by the goalie in the centre of the post.
A marvellous right footed attempted by midfielder Ashikur Rahman from outside the box was saved by the goalie in the top right corner of the post in the 66th minute.
Sri Lankan midfielders Naizer Mohamed Fazal and Hewage Kavindu Ishan, defenders Yogendra Duckson Puslas and Anuruddha Warakagoda spoiled one chance each in a between 67 to 73 minutes.
The Maldives squandered a close ranged opportunity in the 54th minute as Mohamed Irufaan right footed shot from outside the box was blocked by the goalie.
Maldives, however, continued to play pressing game throughout the barren first half with creating seven close-range attempts.
The Maldives took the first attempt in the very third minute by midfielder Ibrahim Waheed Hassan’s header from very close range off Hassan Naiz a cross. The attempt was saved by the goalie in the centre of the goal.
Sri Lanka missed a chance in the 34th minute, but midfielder Afeel Mohamed’s right footed shot from outside the box was high and wide to out the right side post.
Maldives tasted the SAFF Championship title in 2008 while Sri Lanka in 1995.
Yellow Cards: Anuruddha Warakagoda and Hewage Kavindu Ishan (Sri Lanka).