SAFF Suzuki Cup: Sri Lanka and the Maldives were level on points, goal difference, goals against and head to head but only one team could go through and their fate in the tournament came down to a coin toss.
The Maldives won the toss and got through to the all-important semi-finals of the SAFF Suzuki Cup in Dhaka.
India finished on top of the group and will take on archrivals Pakistan in the first semi while the Maldives will take on Nepal in the 2nd semi-final this week.
Pakistan will play in the knockouts for the first time in 13 years after convincingly beating Bhutan 3-0. Hosts Bangladesh crashed out of the tournament despite winning 2 out of the 3 matches in the group stage.
The finals of the SAFF Championship will be played on the 15th of September 2018.
Sri Lanka, unlucky or poor?
The boys from Sri Lanka were full of energy after winning the warm-up game against Bangladesh at the Sheikh Kamal Stadium – Nilphamari. At the end of 90 minutes, a 40-yard stunner from Sri Lanka’s Mohamed Fazal separated the two teams.
Next in line was India but two fantastic goals in the 35th and 47th minute overthrew Sri Lanka to the bottom of the table with one game to go against the Maldives. Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte were the goalscorers for team India.
Sri Lanka dominated possession in the game against the Maldives but failed to capitalize on a number of clear-cut opportunities. Asela Madushan’s attempt in the first half was harshly ruled offside. The game concluded goalless.
The Maldives took on India but lost 2-0, equal on points with Sri Lanka. Finally, it came down to a coin toss and the Maldivians were through to the semi-finals.
Despite being denied a place in the semis, the Sri Lankans were much better in all aspects of the game. They can unquestionably take all positives and work on the negatives to come back stronger in tournaments to follow.
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