It really was a mis-match on the pitch as goals fromÂ Ashique Kuruniyan and Lalianzuala Chhangte sealed an easy three points for the reigning champion India in their group B opener against Sri Lanka.
IndiaÂ got their SAFF Cup campaign off to the perfect start as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against substandard Sri Lanka in their Group B opener in Dhaka.
The Blue Tigers knew that they needed to get off to a winning start in group B, givenÂ the fact they face tough competition inÂ Pakistan and BangladeshÂ to get out of the group and they did just that.
Ashique Kuruniyan opened the scoring for the hosts after the half hour mark to settle the nerves of a nation and form their on, they showed that they were clearly the better team.
Lalianzuala Chhangte added a second in the second half for the hosts to seal a very important three points, while Sri Lanka know that this was probably their best chance of getting some points.
Starting off strong
India, fielding the youngest team in the competition, raided the rival citadel on a number of occasions in the opening exchanges, keeping the islanders on tenterhooks.
In the 36th minute, Ashique sped past his marker and slotted the ball home past a diving keeper for his first international goal.
Almost immediately after, India came close to doubling the lead but Chhangte’s narrow miss, and a number of acrobatic saves by the Sri Lankan goalie kept the scoresheet unchanged.
After the breather, India took less than 120 seconds to score the second. Chhangte’s deep cross from the left wing was misread by the Sri Lankan goalie and it handed India a 2-0 lead.
Business-like Blues see the game out
Chhangte, by that time, had changed flanks and looked more effective down the left, the Islanders having a torrid time to keep him in check.
Nikhil Poojary, who had a season-long injury lay-off was introduced after the hour-mark and tried his luck off a corner off a Thapa corner but it sailed over the crossbar.
Farukh Chowdhury and substitute Manvir Singh also had their chances but were unable to cash in despite staying in advantageous positions. First, Farukh blasted into the crossbar in the 75th minute, and off the rebound, Manvir missed to connect it properly to find the third goal.
Indian controlled the latter stages of the game, but were unable to score a 3rd goal, as theyÂ settled for a 2-0 win on their first game of the campaign.
Courtesy the victory, India stay on top of Group B and they next take on Maldives on September 9.
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Source: Matchday Frolics