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Sri Lanka go down fighting in SAFF opener in Male

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After a scintillating performance until the early second half, where the Lankans were given a penalty due to an unforced error off a handball. Until such time it was a ding-dong battle for supremacy.

Duckson Puslas made the blunder by being penalised for handling the ball while attempting to clear from their box area. Referee Taweel Feras had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Topu Barman made no mistake and booted the solitary goal of the game.

Both teams shared the honours in the first half with some enthralling moments in a bid to make the initial scoring by breaking the deadlock. The strikers from either side made some teasing moves finding inroads in their rival defense, and the Bengali Tigers once came closer to scoring on the brink of the first half, but skipper Sujan Perera made a brilliant save to foil the scoring opportunity which Tariq Raihan Kazi fired a 20-metre power packed kick from in front of the posts. This led to both teams leaving for lemons with a barren score sheet.

The Bengali Tigers came into this game as favorites with a better track record winning 10 matches out of their 16 outings, and executed immense pressure on the Lankans. But the losers fought back gallantly to deny their rivals until the pendulum swung the other way around – gifting a penalty in the second half. The Lankan team was shown two yellow and a red card, while their opponents were booked with three yellow cards for rough play.

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