SAFF Cup, India vs Sri Lanka as it happened: Robin Singh's fine brace gives India 2-0 win

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SAFF Cup, India vs Sri Lanka as it happened: Robin Singh's fine brace gives India 2-0 win
  • 20:36 (IST)

    So that's it from us here at Firstpost on Christmas day. Thanks to all of your joining us - the interest shown on the India football team on a holiday evening is heartwarming to see. India take on Nepal next in two days time. We'll be here then as well. Stay tuned for the match report from Manas Mitul from Trivandrum and more analysis tomorrow. 

    Boxing Day, here we come!

  • 20:32 (IST)

  • 20:27 (IST)

    And the referee blows for full time! India have started their campaign with a hard-fought 2-0 win over a resolute Sri Lankan side. Robin Singh the hero with both the goals but he was substituted with a serious-looking injury after scoring his second. 

  • 20:24 (IST)

    Have lost count of the corners India have taken. Must be around 85 or something or now (at least feels like it). A few more in injury time as Chhetri and Chhangte combine well. 

    Almost full time here..

  • 20:21 (IST)

    And 4 mins time added on....

  • 20:19 (IST)

    Oh, big chances for Chhetri! Could have scored twice in two minutes there. First a counter attack, 3-on-2 in favour of India, a peach of a cross from the young Chhangte finds Chhetri in the middle, but his first touch takes it to the goalkeeper. A left-footed shot later draws another save. 

  • 20:17 (IST)

    Gurpreet is finally seeing some action in front of him. India happy to see this out. 

  • 20:14 (IST)

    Chhangte, the young debutant, has looked very impressive down the right so far. Good pace, much trickery. Sri Lanka trying to get back in the game now, but its opening spaces for India. Sujan Perera still keeping his team in this one.

    After 83 mins, India 2-0 Sri Lanka

  • 20:14 (IST)

    Chhangte, the young debutant, has looked very impressive down the right so far. Good pace, much trickery. Sri Lanka trying to get back in the game now, but its opening spaces for India. Sujan Perera still keeping his team in this one.

    After 83 mins, India 2-0 Sri Lanka

  • 20:10 (IST)

    I think touched the ball once, quite literally. 

  • 20:08 (IST)

    Substitution for India: Debut for the 18-year old. What a moment for the kid from Mizoram

  • 20:06 (IST)

    GOAL, India! Robin Singh with a brace! A clever header from Chhetri puts Robin through on goal and he showed immense strength, before finishing with his right foot from a tight-angle. Squeezes it into the far post from the right. But he's down badly injured and is stretchered off. Looks nasty.

  • 20:03 (IST)

    Substiution for India: The impressive Sanju Pradhan, taken off for Bikash Jairu. 

  • 20:01 (IST)

    WHAT A SAVE FROM PERERA! Sanju does well again to find Jeje two yards away from goal, completely unmarked. The header is on target, but the keeper pulls off a blinder. Break in play here.

    After 70 mins, India lead 1-0. 

  • 19:59 (IST)

  • 19:59 (IST)

    It's a Christmas miracle! Sort of. Sri Lanka just passed their way into the Indian D-Box, but Augustin defends well. India on the attack again.

  • 19:56 (IST)

    Back to back corners for India after some patient build-up play. Sanju Pradhan again inolved, showing some neat footwork on more than one occasion. He has really grown into the game as it has gone along. The keeper has to be alert. Much, much better from India.

  • 19:50 (IST)

    Jeje has been caught offside so far twice in the second half. This time runs too early to meet  Sanju's cross from the right. Meanwhile, Chhetri continues to show good skills down the left as he and Narayan Das combine well.

    After 60 mins India 1 - 0 Sri Lanka

  • 19:50 (IST)

    Jeje has been caught offside so far twice in the second half. This time runs too early to meet  Sanju's cross from the right. Meanwhile, Chhetri continues to show good skills down the left as he and Narayan Das combine well.

    After 60 mins India 1 - 0 Sri Lanka

  • 19:45 (IST)

  • 19:44 (IST)

    GOAL INDIA!! Robin Singh scores for India but it was all about Chhteri down the left who lays it on a platter for the center forward. A long ball behind the defence is controlled expertly by Chhetri but he gets lucky when he tries to cut back in, as a clearance breaks for him. He breaks free, dribbles and squares it for an unmarked Robin Singh who's shot is too powerful for the SL keeper to handle.

  • 19:41 (IST)

    India start on the front straight away. Rowland playing higher up than Pronay. Sanju involved in crossing yet again , got in behind the defence a couple of times there. 

  • 19:36 (IST)

    Substitution for India: Pronay Halder off, Rowland Borges on

  • 19:35 (IST)

    And we are underway for the second half...

  • 19:28 (IST)

    A very frustrating half for India that saw them have plenty of ball possession but not much to show for it. Sri Lanka have come with a three-part plan for the match. Defend, defend and defend like your lives depend on it. It worked for them in the first match against Nepal, as they snatched a late, late winner. A draw is enough for them to go to the semis here. Can India find a breakthrough in the second half?

  • 19:20 (IST)

    A free kick from deep in the right flank by the left footed Narayan Das is floated in nicely but it's cleared quite easily. And that's half-time at Trivandrum.

    At half-time, India 0-0 Sri Lanka

  • 19:19 (IST)

    Two minutes added time at the end of the first half. No goals yet.

  • 19:17 (IST)

  • 19:15 (IST)

    A slew of chances for India after that effort from Chhetri. More corners, a few long shots, some last minute headers from Sri Lankan defence. 

  • 19:13 (IST)

    Big chance, Chhetri! A through ball over the top finds the captain on the left flank, cuts in from the left past few defenders and gets a shot away, hits the defender. Much better from India. This is what happens when you get the best player on the ball in the box.

  • 19:08 (IST)

    Another chance for Jeje! Sanju Pradhan finally decides not to play a first time cross straight to the Lankan defence. Plays it back to Pritam who floats it in, the cross from the right finds Jeje yards away from goal, puts it over under pressure. Corner given and a good delivery from Lyngdoh comes to nothing.

  • 19:04 (IST)

    Definite lull in the proceedings. Painful to see India pinging hopeful long balls from the back to Robin Singh and attacks fizzling out even before reaching the final third. 

    After 30 mins, it's 0-0

  • 18:59 (IST)

    Clear tactics by India to get it to wide right and cross it to Robin Singh but the quality has been poor so far and virtually nothing through the center of the park. 82% possession for India. 

    After 25 mins India 0 - 0 Sri Lanka

  • 18:57 (IST)

  • 18:54 (IST)

    India dominating possession, switching play from flank to flank but very little in terms of penetration. Lack of creativity through the center yet again with Chhteri cutting in from left, same old story. 

  • 18:51 (IST)

  • 18:50 (IST)

    A good shot of the Jeje chance.

  • 18:49 (IST)

    Robin Singh then releases Sanju down the right whose return cross evades Robin. Good move, there. Sri Lanka then take their first shot on goal, but calling that a shot on goal is like saying I have a shot at Deepika Padukone - sails way over the top!

  • 18:49 (IST)

    Robin Singh then releases Sanju down the right whose return cross evades Robin. Good move, there. Sri Lanka then take their first shot on goal, but calling that a shot on goal is like saying I have a shot at Deepika Padukone - sails way over the top!

  • 18:47 (IST)

    Jeje goes close! Gets lucky with a few touches to bundle himself through on goal after a Lyngdoh lob-pass, but GK blocks his attempted chip. Should have scored there, but brave effort from the keeper. Break in play to treat the Lankan GK.

  • 18:42 (IST)

    It's been all India so far just as expected. Lyngodh playing very deep, Sanju Pradhan down the right. Chhetri dropping very deep.

    After 10 mins, India 0 - 0 Sri Lanka

  • 18:40 (IST)

    Back-to-back chances for India. India win a corner after a nice through ball to the right flank from Chhetri. A good save from the cutback. But corner comes to nothing. Then a cross from the right flank finds Chhtetri at the far post, and his header is straight at the goalkeeper.

  • 18:37 (IST)

    The cross does not come in as India try to play Lyngdoh outside the D, goes horribly wrong. Should have tested the goalkeeper with a cross into the box.

  • 18:37 (IST)

    The cross does not come in as India try to play Lyngdoh outside the D, goes horribly wrong. Should have tested the goalkeeper with a cross into the box.

  • 18:36 (IST)

    A cross from the right by Pritam is handled just outside the box by Sri Lanka, an early free kick for India..

  • 18:35 (IST)

    India have started on the front foot. But must be wary of the counterattack from Sri Lanka...

  • 18:33 (IST)

    And we are underway. India in blue, Sri Lanka in maroon. 

  • 18:28 (IST)

  • 18:27 (IST)

    The teams are out and it's time for the national anthems. Sri Lanka's first...

  • 18:25 (IST)

    This is Sri Lanka's second match of the group stage as they stole a late, late winner against Nepal in their opening match. It was a game that Nepal dominated, and the Lanka coach admitted his team was lucky to win. A win today would send Sri Lanka through to semi-finals, making the next match between India and Nepal a knock-out affair.

Match Preview

Thiruvananthapuram: India head coach Stephen Constantine is wary of the fact that Sri Lanka can hit them on the counter attack when the two outfits meet in a South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup tie here on Friday.

Constantine spoke of the opponent’s strength and said there would not be any easy games for India in the tournament at the Trivandrum International Stadium.

“They play a defensive formation and will hit us on the counter attacks. They have some decent players and work extremely hard,” the British tactician said.

 SAFF Cup, India vs Sri Lanka as it happened: Robin Singhs fine brace gives India 2-0 win

File photo of Sunil Chhetri. AFP

“There are no easy games for us -- in fact, against anybody. I expect Sri Lanka to give everything they have. We have to be patient and see what happens.”

Constantine also said he is rebuilding the squad with young players and that it will take some time before they can give results.

“When I took over I had to make a choice -- either to continue with the tried and tested whose average age was around 30, or to rebuild the squad. I opted for the second despite being aware that it won’t deliver you immediate results,” he said.

There are a list of injury concerns for Constantine and he added playing them would mean that they would aggravate it more.

“We have lost Sandesh (Jhingan who’s also an Under-23 Player), (Cavin) Lobo and Seityasen Singh. Anas (Edathodika) pulled a hamstring and we had to release him too. Besides, there are a number of guys whom we need to be careful with,” Constantine stated.

“I could have easily played Jhingan and Lobo. They could have played in this tournament and their presence would have certainly strengthened my squad. But if I played them here they would have missed the next six months.”

At the practice session on Thursday it was Jeje Lalpekhlua first to hit the ground. The others followed. Pritam Kotal, Narayan Das, Rowlin Borges, Pronay Halder, Holicharan Narzary, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Kaushik Sarkar, Thongkhosiem Haokip, Sumit Passi are all below the age of 23, the younger squad that the coach was stressing on.

Referring to a question whether goalkeeper Subrata (Paul) can push Gurpreet (Singh Sandhu) and grab the position under the citadel, Constantine hit back hard saying: “If Subrata didn’t have a chance he won’t have been here. I have never had any attachment for players of what they have done in the past.”

“It’s all about now. Everyone needs to be the type of player which suits the national team.”

But it will be a tough ask breaking down the Lankan defence who stood strong in their first game against Nepal.

Mohamed Rifnas struck a late winner for the Lankans against Nepal on Wednesday and they would be full of confidence when they take on the Indians.

IANS

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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2015 21:02:24 IST


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