Both Sri Lanka and Bhutan have had a terrible outing at the SAFF Championship so far, evident from their early exits from the tournament.
Bhutan were defeated 3-0 by Afghanistan before going down to ten men against Maldives and losing that encounter, 8-2. On the other hand, Sri Lanka fared no better as they were drubbed 10-0 after going down to ten men against Maldives while losing 3-1 to Afghanistan.
In this meaningless encounter both teams have only pride to play for as they would like to give their supporters something to cheer about.
Claudio Roberto, the Sri Lankan coach was pleased with how his side had bounced back admirably after the 10-0 drubbing against Maldives to a respectable 3-1 loss against Afghanistan.
While the Lankans had a great first half, they could not manage the same energy levels in the second part of the game. When quizzed about why there was such a dip in performance, Roberto mentioned, “Basically we are here with young players and without much experience. Thus the second half performance.”
The coach though, also pointed out that Afghanistan were a far superior side, in the FIFA rankings. He commented, “At the moment the Afghanistan squad is more superior to Sri Lanka. I think we had nine practice matches and of those we lost three. We had confidence in players and now again we have to go back and think of new methods."
Roberto also blamed the poor preparation the team had in the build-up to the competition and the lack of infrastructure back home, for their lean showings in the tournament. He opined, “The problem is not here during the tournament, it began from our country. When we started practice, we had problems with ground, and there are many other problems (with infrastructure). And due to the rains for two to three weeks, we could not practice.”
Meanwhile Bhutan coach Kazunori Ohara always knew that his side would struggle in the competition against the big boys. They did put up a good fight against Maldives before going down to ten men which resulted in the scoreline against the same.
Ohara, through proud of his team's efforts, will egg on his team to prove to the world that his minnows squad will go out fighting.
Though both teams seemsingly having nothing to play for, they will face off like they have everything to lose. A football fanatics treat.
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