SAFF Championship 2018: India vs Sri Lanka, 5 Talking Points
India began their quest for an eighth title at the SAFF Championships with a comfortable 2-0 win over Sri Lanka in their Group B opener in Dhaka. India have the youngest squad at this tournament, with only one player older than 23 in the setup.
The new-look team led by Subhasish Bose were in control of this match throughout. Though it may not reflect in the scoreline, the Indians weren't troubled much by their southern neighbours in this encounter and could have had more goals to their name with some better finishing.
The goals came from India's two wingers - Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte.
Kuruniyan opened the scoring in the 34th minute after a lovely overhead pass enabled him to burst through behind the Lankan defence from the right flank and he rifled a low shot into the corner past the Sri Lankan custodian, his first ever senior goal in national colours.
The second came just a few minutes after the restart as the left winger, Chhangte, went to work, getting at the Sri Lankan defenders and with a touch of good fortune looping the ball over the head of Sujan Perera in goal.
It was a good first match to begin the tournament with, getting the three points needed.
Here are the main talking points from India's opening win.
#1 The starting XI
With most of the regulars back home, much of the intrigue lay in what team coach Stephen Constantine would pick for this first match. With a whole host of players, largely on level footing as far as talent goes, the competition for places in this squad is stiff.
Today, Constantine went with a standard 4-4-2 featuring Vishal Kaith in goal with captain Subhasish Bose leading a back four comprising himself and Sarthak Golui in the full-back positions and the duo of Salam Ranjan Singh and Mohamad Sajid as the centre-back pairing.
In front of them, Chennaiyin FC duo Germanpreet Singh and Anirudh Thapa ran the engine room flanked by Kuruniyan and Chhangte on the wings. The squad's oldest player, Sumeet Passi, got the nod to play forward alongside Farukh Ahmed.
Nikhil Poojary, Manvir Singh and Vinit Rai got game time off the bench.