India made a winning start in the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 edging past Sri Lanka 2-0 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on 5th September,Wednesday.
Two strikes in the either half of the match saw the Indian U-23 team romp with a facile victory. With Maldives the lone other team in the group Sri Lanka made their life harder in the tournament as India took a step ahead towards the last four.
Both the teams were a little cautious in the opening minutes measuring their opponents approach and strategies. Sri Lanka ’s five men midfield backed by back four forced India to play down the flanks.
Sri Lanka’s counter attacking strategy with their heavy midfield occasionally exploring the Indian territory .
However India sent the first chill into the Sri Lankan spine in the 3rd minute when their speedy forward Faruk Haji Kasam Chowdhury darted into the box down the right flank and cut the ball back to Ashique Kuruniyan who missed the line in his sliding attempt.
India grew gradually in confidence piling up pressure in the third quarter of the field taking the lead in the 35th minute. After a good build up in the midfield Sumeet Passi’s precise through pass pilfered the dogged defence with Ashique Kuruniyan hitting the far post net with a left footed grass cutter (1-0)
Sri Lanka came close to the equalizer in the 37th minute with Mohammad Fazal missing the mark with a long range effort
The game bowed towards India in the 47th minute with a fortunate strike of defender Lalianzuala Changte. The stocky midfielder in one of his usual zig-zag run down the left flank cut a cross to the post of Sri Lankan goalie Sujan Perera and was surprised to see the ball land into the far post net (2-0)
Woodwork denied India and Faruk Haji Kasam in the 71stminute when the forward was frustrated to see his cracking drive hit the inner edge of the crosspiece before bouncing back to the game.
The margin would have been 3-0 but thanks to Sujan Perera whose acrobatic save on a header of Faruk Haji Kasam turned into a corner.
Sri Lanka faces Maldives in their last match on Friday.