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Lanka clash with Qatar

World Cup qualifying round I:

Sri Lankan soccerites led by newly appointed Chatura Maduranga Weerasinghe will confront Qataris tomorrow in their Olympic qualifying round game at Sugathadasa stadium. The kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sri Lankans will leave for Qatar for the second leg of this game which is to be played in Doha on October 28.

Sri Lankan selectors have kept faith on the most senior player in the squad Chathura to be the leader of the Lankan contingent. He replaces Dudley Steinwall who led the team for almost five years. At present he is left out of the squad.

The new look Lankan outfit is confident of meeting the Qatar and posing a big threat to this strong outfit from the Middle-East.

During the recent past Sri Lankan soccerites showed a little bit of improvement.

They defeated Malaysia 2-1 and later in the second-leg lost 1-4. Beat Brunei 1-0. Last year Lankans have played five internationals against Bhutan, Nepal (twice), Chinese Taipei and Tajikstan. Out of five games Lankans have won three, lost one and drew with Nepal in one game.

The second game against Nepal ended in a one-all, but on penalty shoot-out Lankans won it 5-3. The worst defeat for Lankans was when playing against Tajikstan in Dhaka where they went down 4-0.

The game tomorrow will be of vital importance for the team as they come out with many new faces. The four seniors in the side who are capable of producing a good game of soccer along with Chathura the new skipper will be Kasun Jayasuriya, E. B. Channa, G. P. C. Karunaratne and S. D. Tillekeratne the custodian of the side.

A classy performance is expected from these frontline players while defenders have a tough job in halting the speed strikers from the Middle East State.

Qatar who are the Asian Games champions come out here with the intention of winning comfortably. Their record during the recent past have been very successful.

They hope to maintain this further by winning the first led before taking on the Lankans on their home soil next Sunday in front of their home crowd.

Qataris have not played a single match recently and hold a fine record. They are sure to go flat out to keep their unbeaten tag intact for a further period.

Though Qatar goes as favourites here the Lankans with super performance in capable of turning the game in their favour if they too make an effort to face the challenge playing according to the situation that comes their way.

The soccer fans here should come in large numbers to cheer the new look Lankan team which too could be a morale booster for them.

 

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