SL return home empty handed after 1-0 defeat

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Sri Lanka ended their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2023 Final Round Group C campaign on a disappointing note and will return home empty handed after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Maldives in their last group stage match at the Markaziy Stadium on Tuesday.

Having suffered two consecutive defeats against Uzbekistan and Thailand, both South Asian nations were eyeing the first win of their qualifying campaign.

The Maldives fielded a defensive line-up with Naiz Hassan playing as a lone striker, while Sri Lanka went with an attacking trio of Mohamed Aakib, Asikur Rahuman and Dillon de Silva.

Despite their best efforts, Sri Lanka were unable to break down the Maldivian defence as the score remained 0-0 going into the break.

In an effort to find the breakthrough, Francesco Moriero substituted Hassan Naiz for Ibrahim Hassan in the 56th minute, and it was not long before Maldives found the back of the net.

Ibrahim Hassan was in the thick of action, creating the chance for Ibrahim Mahudhee to send a clever ball through to Mohamed, who slotted home the opener through the legs of Sri Lanka keeper Kaveesh Fernando.

Sri Lanka then wasted a golden chance to equalise when Maldives keeper Mohamed Faisal saved De Silva’s penalty in the 69th minute.

With this defeat Sri Lanka ended a disappointing campaign by failing to score a single goal in their three outings (Uzbekistan, Thailand and Maldives), while conceding a total of 6 goals.