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SAFF Championship 2021: India settle for draw with Sri Lanka

India were forced to use wings in order to get close to scoring against Sri Lanka. (Image: AIFF)
India were forced to use wings in order to get close to scoring against Sri Lanka. (Image: AIFF)

The Indian Football Team had to settle for a goalless draw with Sri Lanka in their second game in the SAFF Championship 2021. The Blue Tigers are now placed fourth in the league standings with two points from as many games. The Indian football team needs to finish in the top two in order to advance to the championship final.

Igor Stimac went for a very different line-up compared to the previous game against Bangladesh. With no conventional center backs in defence, it was evident that the Blue Tigers were planning to use the wings to their advantage. They wanted to take advantage of a weaker and slower Sri Lankan side in the SAFF Championship 2021 match.

The Blue Tigers eked out their first real opportunity of the game in the 21st minute when Udanta Singh made a darting run to the right side of the pitch. He cut back outside and delivered an inch-perfect cross to find Liston Colaco in the Sri Lanka box.

45' Another short corner for India, but Sri Lanka manage to deal with the danger after Thapa tried to work it around the box with Liston.๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ 0-0 ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐโœ๏ธ: bit.ly/2Ytx7UZ#INDSRI โš”๏ธ #SAFFChampionship2021 ๐Ÿ† #BackTheBlue ๐Ÿ’™ #BlueTigers ๐Ÿฏ #IndianFootball โšฝ https://t.co/0UWTdJALrZ

The ATK Mohun Bagan winger was unmarked and just had to head the ball to the target with no Sri Lankan defenders on his tail. Instead, Colaco went for power rather than precision and headed the ball wide in the SAFF Championship 2021.

The Indian football team kept delivering in crosses and free-kicks into the danger area but never managed to find an Indian shirt inside the Sri Lankan box. Anirudh Thapa was tasked with most of the set-piece situations and his deliveries were not up to the mark in the SAFF Championship 2021.

The Blue Tigers kept the lion's share of possession but never managed to stretch out the Sri Lankan defense. They were forced to play it out wide and use the wings in the second-half as well.

India never managed to put Sri Lanka on the backfoot in the SAFF Championship 2021 clash

India were held 0-0 by Sri Lanka in the SAFF Championship 2021. (Image: AIFF)
India were held 0-0 by Sri Lanka in the SAFF Championship 2021. (Image: AIFF)

The Indian football got their second clear scoring opportunity when Mandar Rao Dessai whipped in a low ball from the left towards Anirudh Thapa at center. Thapa delayed his run and failed to reach the loose ball across the face of the goal in the 59th minute. It stayed goalless in the SAFF Championship 2021.

The Indian football team had another opportunity to go ahead in the very next minute. However, Subhasish Bose headed wide from yet another Udanta Singh cross from the right.

Igor Stimac's men believed that they did manage to find a way through the Sri Lanka goal in the SAFF Championship 2021. A long range attempt from Farukh Chaudhary rattled the net of the Sri Lankan goal in the 72nd minute. However, it turned out that Bose had committed a foul inside the Sri Lankan box, moments prior to the shot, thus ruling out the goal.

Sri Lanka held on with their resilience at the back and never allowed India to dominate in the final third to split points. India will now face league leaders Nepal on October 10th in a bid to revive their SAFF Championship 2021 campaign.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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