India played out a 0-0 draw against Sri Lanka in their second SAFF Championship 2021 match. The result comes on the back of their 1-1 draw with Bangladesh in their first match.
The Blue Tigers had a sizeable number of opportunities in a game largely bereft of goalmouth action. India registered eight shots out of which only one was on target. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, registered just a solitary shot which was off target.
Igor Stimac's men were the dominant side, managing 72% possession. However, they lacked creativity and the finishing touch in key areas, with the forwards hardly receiving any supply. Stimac's decision to deploy a 4-4-1-1 formation with Sunil Chhetri upfront heavily backfired as the talismanic Indian skipper was starved of service and cut a frustrated figure.
Sri Lanka had work to do defensively but were never really overwhelmed. The Islanders also failed to truly test the Indian backline, offering precious little going forward. This was expected, however, as the Lankans are ranked 205th in the world, 98 places below India in 107th.
That fact in particular will add insult to injury for the Blue Tigers as a win here would have kickstarted their SAFF Championship campaign.
We look at how the Indian players fared during their 0-0 draw against Sri Lanka:
India player ratings
Gupreet Singh Sandhu - 6/10
Gurpreet had very little to do on the night as Sri Lanka registered no shots on target. However, the Indian shot-stopper collected three crosses and was generally good with his distribution.
Seriton Fernandes - 6/10
Fernandes didn't have much to do defensively. The right-back could have offered more going forward, but was largely a bystander in the second half as India preferred to attack predominantly from the left. Fernandes completed 74.4% of his passes and won one foul.
Rahul Bheke - 6/10
Bheke, too, had a relatively simple night from a defensive standpoint. The centre-back did, however, help in moving the ball forward, completing 84.7% of his attempted passes.
Subhasish Bose - 5.5/10
Bose was both everywhere and nowhere in an extremely middling performance. The Indian centre-back was solid defensively, registering a tackle and winning a foul in addition to completing 89.4% of his passes. Bose, though, had a horror-show on offense.
While he did well to get to the end of some corners, he failed to get any of his three shots on target. The most glaring miss came near the end of the game when Bose skied his shot from mere yards out with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Mandar Rao Desai - 6/10
Desai didn't do much wrong, but didn't help out too much offensively either. He did occasionally link up well with Liston Colaco going forward. Unfortunately, those moves didn't lead to anything substantial. Desai was eventually substituted for Manvir Singh in the 81st minute.
Udanta Singh - 6.5/10
Some of India's best chances on the night came from the feet of Udanta Singh. The winger sent in some dangerous crosses in the first half, one of which was headed over by an unmarked Colaco. Udanta faded off a little in the second half, but still managed a shot, a key pass and completed 74.1% of his passes in the game.
Glan Martins - 6.5/10
Martins didn't see much of the ball in the second half, but was impressive in patches. The midfielder provided two key passes and registered a pass accuracy of 83.7% against Sri Lanka. Martins also registered two tackles, though he did not register a single shot throughout the match.
Anirudh Thapa - 6.5/10
The brightest spark in the Indian set-up, Thapa constantly looked to keep the ball moving with his diagonal switches and quick movement. The youngster recorded two key passes, a tackle and 77.3% passing accuracy, but was sacrificed for Farukh Chaudhury in the 68th minute.
Thapa came close to opening the scoring in the second half, but his slide was just seconds late from reaching Desai's cross.
Liston Colaco - 6/10
Colaco was largely wasteful with his final ball against Sri Lanka. The winger showed some good movement and had his bright spots, but struggled to impact the game for large swathes. Colaco registered two shots (zero on target) and completed 76% of his passes in addition to winning a game-high four fouls.
Suresh Wangjam - 5/10
It was an average performance on the night from Wangjam. Starting behind Chhetri in the CAM role, the midfielder struggled to link up with his skipper. Wangjam only managed 11 passes (63.3% accuracy) throughout the first half and was also booked in the 43rd minute. He was substituted at half-time for Mohammad Yasir.
Sunil Chhetri - 6/10
The Indian captain had an off-night, largely due to a lack of service from midfield. Chhetri often had to drop deep to get the ball, but still managed India's only shot on target against Sri Lanka with a looping header that was tipped over the bar.
He also registered two key passes and completed 76.9% of his passes, but couldn't guide his team to victory on the night.
Mohammad Yasir - 6/10
Yasir replaced Wangjam at the start of the second half. He was better at holding the ball up but his corners left a lot to be desired.
Sahal Samad - 6/10
Samad came on for Colaco in the 68th minute. He made a couple of driving runs and even had a chance to win the game at the death but fired his shot straight at the Sri Lankan keeper.
Farukh Choudhary - 6/10
Choudhary replaced Thapa in the 68th minute. He wasn't as bright as the youngster, but had a couple of bright moments.
Manvir Singh - 5/10
Manvir Singh replaced Desai in the 81st minute as India threw on an extra attacker in search of a goal. He didn't see much of the ball, however.