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DateLine Thursday, 12 June 2008

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Lanka out of the final

7 SAFF Champions 2008:

Sri Lanka the only unbeaten team in the group 'B' for the SAFF championship lost to Maldives in the semifinal one goal to nil at the Sugathadasa stadium under lights yesterday.

Maldivians who came to Sri Lanka after losing to India in a group 'A' match did a fine job to book their place in the final against India in Colombo on Saturday. Maldivians had to fight all the way to achieve this victory.

They managed to find the net only in the 70th minute of the game through their best combination of strikers. It was Ali Ashfaq who after dribbling through some of their opponent on the right sent in a good ball to Ibrahim Fazeel who made no mistake with the kick to put them ahead.

Their defender put on a strong wall against the goal hungry Kasun and Channa, who made in roads to Maldivian, to Maldivian territory soon after the visitors scoring. The two strikers were never allowed to move freely at any stage of the game. But there were few goal scoring opportunities that Sri Lanka's way. None of the players managed to control the ball at this stage to find the net.

Skipper Chathura Maduranga was seen moving up and down feeding the forwards, with all the support from the defenders. When the final whistle was blown by N. Abdul Wahab the score stood in favour of the visitors sealing their entry to the final.

There were instances referee had to pull the warning card to players of both teams as they were up to rough play. All in all it was fast soccer witnessed by all.

Nearly 3000-4000 Maldivians were seen cheering their players which also was a morale booter for the player. They have travelled all the way to cheer their heroes. Lankan coach said that his boys too did their best today.

The players' missed chances caused a worry for the team. Maldivians on the other side played a good game. This is football one side had to win. Speaking further he said every player did their job in a very professional manner, but the luck was with us.

Lankans need international exposure. Our boys can improve further if they can get this most wanted exposure with the AFC President's Cup in mind we will have to work together for better results. He said considering all the factors in this game the boys did their best according to capabilities.

The first half commenced with the Lankan taking full control of the game. They maintained a high tempo and produced very fast soccer. It was really interesting for the everyone watching the game here at the stadium. When the game was only 10 minutes old it was Kasun Jayasuriya and E.B. Channa got together to attack their opponents territory on many occasions.

But two of them failed to find the target to put the Lankans ahead. This resulted very badly for Sri Lanka in this session. If they had the right target things would have been much better for the local team.

Maldivians sensing the danger got their act together and went on the attack rather than the defence. They too were able to penetrate the defence of the Lankans and had few shots at the goal without success.

Specially the two professionals Asfaq Ali Asfaq and Ibrahim Fazeel did everything possible to put their side in front but failed in all attempts with Lankan defenders putting up a great show.

Full credit for Rohan Dinesh R. Welldon and Thilina Suranda for their brave effort on this area. All these accounted for the teams to return with a scoreless card.

D.D. Pinano the Slovakian coach said he was highly satisfied with the boys performance. Right through the tournament the boys did an excellent job. In their home town too they performed well and continued the same here.

I was confident that the boys were ready for the game. They played their normal game what they were used to. In the early part they lacked a bit but caught up well once again to pose a big threat to the local team.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Mount View Residencies

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