Sri Lanka 3-0 Bhutan: The Island Nation Snap The First Three Points Of The Competition

The lowest ranked nation failed to compete on an even kill in their SAFF Championship group A match…

Sri Lanka turned on style to win their tournament opener against Bhutan 3-0 to go on top of Group A.

A brace from Nipuna Dewinda Bandara and a goal from Mi Mohamed Zain sealed the three points for the Island nation.

Sri Lanka started with Tuwan Rizni and Chathura Gunarathan on the two flanks while Bhutan lined-up in their tried and tested 4-4-2 formation.

Bhutan could have embarrassed themselves by letting in a horror goal in the 14th minute as goalkeeper Mon Bdr Bhattrai made a mockery of a simple collection.

Five minutes later, Mi Mohamed Zain had an attempt from outside the box which went over the bar much to relief of Bhutan.

However the Lankans kept attacking with Tuwan Rizni latching onto a long ball from his own half which saw Tshering Dorjee clear the danger.

Nadeeka Pushpakumara, the playmarker, dictated the proceedings of the match as it was his cross into the box which was cleared in time with Nipuna Dewinda waiting inside the box.

The breakthrough came in the 29th minute when Chathura Gunarathna’s cross from the left was slotted in by Mi Mohamed Zain.

The lead was doubled when Nipuna Dewinda Bandara scored from the inside the box with Mi Mohamed Zain being the provider.

Skipper Ruwanthilaka had a chance to add his name on the scoresheet as his free header from a Pushpakumara corner-kick.

Bhutan coach Hiroaki Matsuyama tired to change a few things by bringing on Chencho and Yeshi Samdrup for Nim Sangay and Sangay Khandu.

Five minutes into the second half and the Bhutan upright was rattled by Chathura Gunarathna with his 30 yard piledriver.

Nipuna Dewinda Bandara scored his second of the match in the 65th minute as the Sri Lankans kept piling on the pressure.

Bandara could have completed his hat-trick when he made a brilliant solo run from the left to see his shot being saved by the Bhutan custodian.

Mon Bdr Bhattrai turned out to be the hero for his side as he made a triple save within seconds denying Mohamed Shahfraz Kaiz, Nipuna Dewinda andTuwan Rizni.

Thereafter the pace of the game slowed down as Sri Lanka made some changes to give a run-in to their bench players. Bhutan never really looked like scoring and they need to work hard ahead of their next match against India.


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