It was a disappointing draw for Igor Stimac's Team India, as they failed to win against lower-ranked Sri Lanka at the SAFF Championship in Male, Maldives. The team was held to a 0-0 draw in their second encounter, after Bangladesh too had managed to sneak a 1-1 draw against them.
It was the second draw for the Blue Tigers in as many outings as a lowly Sri Lanka held India to a 0-0 finish at the SAFF Championship 2021, in Male, Maldives, on Thursday. The Men in Blue started out positively in the first half and did create a few opportunities, but could not convert them into goals.
According to a report in IANS, Liston Colaco had a big chance in the 22nd minute, when he received the ball from the right flank by Udanta Singh, and connected a header, but unfortunately, the ball sailed over the bar. A few moments later, Udanta created another opportunity, this time for Seriton, but the latter was flagged offside. Despite all these attacking moves in the first half, Sri Lankan defence did not panic and kept the Indians at bay.
In the second half too, Liston and Udanta kept charging in from both the flanks, but with no luck.
Later in the game, Mandar Rao Dessai booted a low cross across the face of the goal on the hour mark, and Thapa only had to connect with it properly to turn it in from close range, but the ball evaded him. That was the last real chance for Thapa, as Stimac soon replaced him with Sahal Abdul Samad, while bringing on Farukh Choudhary for Liston Colaco.
Finally, in the 89th minute, Chhetri created another opportunity. The skipper nodded the corner towards Subhasish, who was in a position to score, but his attempt was foiled by the Lankan defence. With eight minutes added to the injury time, India created a couple of more chances, but once again, a goal did elude them in the match.