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Friday, March 15, 2019

Sri Lanka, India advance to semis

Players of Sri Lanka and Maldives (right) vie for the ball during their SAFF Women’s Championship match on Friday, March 15, 2019. Photo: Udipt Singh Chhetry

Biratnagar, March 15

Sri Lanka defeated the Maldives 2-0 and advanced to the SAFF Women’s Championship semi-finals here at the Sahid Rangashala today.

Chalani Kumari Ekanayake scored a brace for Sri Lanka, whose victory also opened the doors for India to make it to the last four from Group B despite not being in action today.

India had defeated the Maldives 6-0 in their first match and will face Sri Lanka on Sunday to decide the group winners and runners-up. Both Sri Lanka and India have three points each, while the Maldives crashed out without scoring a goal.

Nepal and Bangladesh have already made it to the semi-finals from Group A at the expense of Bhutan, who also made an early exit without scoring a single goal.

On Friday, Sri Lanka opened the scoring in the 41st minute. RM Chalani Kumari Ekanayake scored from the close range in rebound after Maldives goalkeeper Aminath Leeza blocked a free kick from IL Erandi K Liyanage in the 41st minute.

Chalani Kumari Ekanayake doubled the lead in the 50th minute when she beat the diving Maldives goalkeeper Leeza following a sublime cross from Achala Sanjeewani Perera.

Earlier, Sri Lanka’s Erandi Liyanage found the back of the nets in the 20th minute but referee Md Jalal Uddin of Bangladesh disallowed the goal and awarded a free kick to Maldives ruling a foul. Liyangi came close again in 23rd minute but she ended up with a high shot from 20 yards out.

The Maldives created a couple of opportunities but they seriously failed to threaten the Sri Lanka post. Sri Lanka coach Rohan Thilak Alponsu lauded Maldives for putting up a brave fight, while the Maldives coach Athif Mohamed said his team missed the services of three key players who could not make it to the tournament due to injuries.

On Saturday, Nepal will play against Bangladesh in Group A match to decide the pool winners and runners-up.


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