Bangladesh got off to a winning start in the opening match of the 13th SAFF Championship with a hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Sri Lanka at National Stadium in Male, Maldives on Friday.
Defender Topu Barman’s spot-kick in the 56th minute sealed Bangladesh’s victory in the second-half of the game. The men and red were awarded a penalty by Syrian referee Feras Taweel due to Duckson Yogendran’s handball inside the box.
Apart from it, the match also saw a total of five yellow cards - Bangladesh’s Yeasin, Rakib, Sumon and Sri Lanka’s Diulshan and Chaitha.
Despite having a 1-0 lead, Bangladesh failed to extend the margin against Sri Lanka during the rest of the second-half of the game. Bangladesh coach Oscar Bruzon injected fresh legs from substitutes including Sufil and Motin but they also failed to break Lankan’s hard defence.
Even after receiving two more free-kicks in the penalty area during the stoppage time due to handball by Lankan captain cum goalkeeper Sujan Perera, they failed to convert any of those into a goal.
Sri Lanka dominated the first five minutes of the game and after that Bangladesh took full control of the game. In the first-half, Bangladeshi forwards missed at least three close chances in the 9th, 38th and 46th minutes to open their account.
The islanders also tried to make some chances from the counter-attack but remained unsuccessful in the entire game.
Bangladesh previously clinched the title of the SAFF Championship once in 2003 while ended runners-up two times in 1999 and 2005 but they failed to qualify to the knockout stage in the last four editions of the competition.