After the Blue Tigers drew 1-1 with Bangladesh’s Bangla Tigers (football results), India suffered another draw in the ongoing SAFF. Head coach Igor Stimac’s Indian football players ended in a 0-0 stalemate with Sri Lanka in the SAFF Championship 2021.
On Thursday, India disappointed with an uninspiring performance for their second successive match in Male, this time against Sri Lanka.
Igor Stimac’s India have been far from impressive in their first two matches of the tournament. It was only the 5th draw in 21 matches between the two sides.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka fought well to snatch a point against the much-fancied Indian side.
Indian Football Players Ended in a 0-0 Stalemate with Sri Lanka
India started well, as Mandar Rao Dessai, on the quarter-hour mark, almost found Sunil Chhetri with a dangerous cross. However, the India skipper could not quite connect his header. The ball went inches over him and into the keeper Sujan Perera’s hands.
Liston Colaco also had a big chance at 22 minutes, when Udanta Singh and swung a cross into the box. But the former, despite having a free header, lost his marker and the ball looped over the bar.
Moments later, it was Udanta again, who passed the ball to Seriton. The latter dodged a lunging defender but his potential cut-back was offside.
Igor Stimac brought on Yasir Mohammad in place of Suresh Wangjam, at the start of the second half. And the midfielder immediately acted as a pivot in the middle of the park, controlling the flow of the game.
Liston and Udanta kept charging at the Sri Lankan defenders from both the wings. They were looking to find their captain in the middle of the box, but it was in vain.
Yasir was again involved in a close chance a little under 10 minutes into the second half. Chhetri met his free-kick inside the box, but Sujan Perera deflected the header over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Chhetri played Udanta through behind the defence, setting the winger up for a one-on-one finish against Perera. However, the assistant referee had already raised his flag.
Mandar Rao Dessai booted a low cross across the face of the goal on the hour mark. But the ball evaded Thapa, who could’ve scored from close range. Then, Thapa and Liston Colaco both left the game on Stimac’s command.
With minutes of regulation time left, Udanta played a cut-back towards substitute Manvir Singh from a dangerous position, but failed.
Chhetri created another opportunity at the 89th minute, nodding a corner towards Subhasish. Subhasish looked like he could score from point-blank range, but the Sri Lankan defence again foiled his chance to score.
India created a couple of chances in the dying moments as well. Gurpreet hoofed a long ball upfield, to Subhasish, who nodded it to Manvir’s path, but Perera intercepted the ball.
With just one (of eight total) minute of injury time to go, Sahal had a golden chance. Farukh sent in a low cut-back from the left and the midfielder attempted to chip the keeper. But again, Perera was up to the task, as he leapt high and grabbed the ball.