• Sunday, Jul 05, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:20 am

Sri Lanka face daunting task in do-or-die battle

  • Published at 02:02 am September 7th, 2018
Saff Championship 2018

The crucial tie will be the final group stage match for Sri Lanka, who lost 2-0 against India in the opening tie, while Maldives kick off their campaign with it as the pre-tournament favourite

Sri Lanka will have to face an uphill task to stay in the Saff Suzuki Cup 2018 as they must avoid defeat against superior rival Maldives in the second match of Group B that will start at 7pm at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka Friday. 

The crucial tie will be the final group stage match for Sri Lanka, who lost 2-0 against India in the opening tie, while Maldives kick off their campaign with it as the pre-tournament favourite. Maldives rose to the ascendancy with the exit of Afghanistan from south Asia region and India participating without their best team.

The two sides have a long history of rivalry since the 1980s but Maldives started to dominate the scene in the 90s. As a matter of fact, they demolished Sri Lanka by a crushing margin of 10-0 when they faced in the same tournament last time five years ago. 

The domestic league in Maldives has been postponed for two months to ensure the preparation for the national team ahead of the Saff Championship. They also didn’t participate in the Asian Games for the same reason.

Maldives’ Croatian-born German head coach Petar Segrt was criticised back home for not including the country’s superstar Ali Ashfaq in the Saff squad, despite the talisman scoring six goals against Sri Lanka during their last face-off. 

Petar was still confident of getting full three points from the first game and take the confidence in reaching all the way to the final.

A newly-shaped Sri Lanka on the other hand couldn’t utilise their confidence from the friendly win against Bangladesh in Nilphamari when they played favourite India in the first game. 

But their head coach Packeer Ali wanted to rectify the mistakes from that game and hoped for a better display against Maldives in Friday's lone game at the BNS.

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