SAFF Championship 2021: India 0-0 Sri Lanka- 4 things we learned

India failed to defeat Sri Lanka
India failed to defeat Sri Lanka

India played their second match of the SAFF Championship 2021 against Sri Lanka in Male today. The Blue Tigers were favorites to win the game but failed to do so after Sri Lanka held them to a 0-0 draw.

The match started on a slow-paced note. Neither team managed to get going as the game turned into a cagey affair. As the game progressed, the game took a physical turn. The first half ended with the scoreboard reading 0-0. The game saw a total of 31 fouls being committed in the game.

In the second half, India tried to create some openings but failed to do anything worthy. However, Sri Lanka kept playing according to their game plan and managed to finish the game with a 0-0 draw.

FULL-TIME! โŒ›๏ธA hard-fought match, but the game ends in a stalemate, as the referee blows the full-time whistle.๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ 0-0 ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐโœ๏ธ: โš”๏ธ #SAFFChampionship2021 ๐Ÿ† #BackTheBlue ๐Ÿ’™ #BlueTigers ๐Ÿฏ #IndianFootball โšฝ

On that note, let us take a look at four things we learned from today's game.

#4 Indian strikers disappoint

Farukh wasn't impressive today
Farukh wasn't impressive today

The Indian forwards had a poor game against Bangladesh in the first game where they drew 1-1. They had another poor game today. While they managed to score against Bangladesh in their first game, today they couldn't do that either. India did manage to create a few openings, but the strikers failed to capitalize on that too.

Manvir Singh, Farukh Choudhary and Liston Colaco missed some excellent chances that could have given India the win if converted.

The Indian team need to work on their striking options as Sunil Chhetri won't be around forever to score goals.

#3 Indian midfielders fail to create enough chances

Liston failed to create proper chances for the team
Liston failed to create proper chances for the team

The Indian midfielders were unable to create enough opportunities today. They faced a lot of problems in getting past a resilient Sri Lankan team. The midfielders were also caught up in a physical battle with the Sri Lankan players, which hampered their creative side.

The players also looked out for ideas during certain situations, which is something that needs to be worked on. The team also failed to utilize the numerous set pieces that they got.

Some of the passes in the final third were poor today. In addition, there seems to be a general lack of understanding between the midfielders and strikers.

#2 Sri Lanka get the tactics on point

Sri Lanka played the game to perfection
Sri Lanka played the game to perfection

Sri Lanka are the lowest-ranked team in the competition and are a team that all the teams expected to beat. This was their third game of the competition today, and they lost their first two games against Bangladesh and Nepal. Everyone expected India to get the better of Sri Lanka today, but the island nation had other ideas.

Sri Lanka coach Amir Alagic is someone who knows Indian football very well, having worked with East Bengal's football school project in 2012. Amir used his knowledge of Indian football and his players' ability to perfection as he managed to secure a point against the region's best-ranked team.

He made sure the Indian players were engaged in a physical battle that would hamper their creative style of play. He made sure every second that could be wasted was wasted. Many people term this brand of football as anti-football. But it is a style that many more minor fancied teams have played against much better teams and get results. Today also something similar happened.

#1 Igor Stimac fails to impress again

Igor Stimac had another poor game as Indian national team coach
Igor Stimac had another poor game as Indian national team coach

Igor Stimac's poor run with the Indian national team continues as he fails to secure a victory against Sri Lanka, ranked 205 in the FIFA Rankings. Igor continues to blame the players and not being able to get PIO's into the team. But he does need to introspect and analyze his tactics because if India needs PIO's to beat Sri Lanka, then indeed India isn't heading in the right direction.

It was evident in the first half an hour of the game that Sri Lanka would be playing a physical defensive brand of football. But he didn't do much tactically to counter that. The general understanding between defense, midfield and attack seems to be missing in this Indian side, which Igor has failed to rectify.

It looks like Igor Stimac himself is suited to play the defensive, anti-football that India displayed against Qatar to perfection. With just three wins, the stats regarding the same speak for themselves.

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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