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2021 SAFF Championship, Group Stage

SAFF Championships: India held to a goalless draw by 205th ranked Sri Lanka

India produced yet another disappointing performance as they were held to a goalless draw by 205th ranked Sri Lanka despite a dominant display in their second SAFF Championships match in Male on Thursday.

The seven-time champions paid the price of not creating enough chances and wasting those they got against a Sri Lankan side 98 places below them in the FIFA rankings.

Though they dominated possession, India were ineffective from the set-pieces and did do not much in open play against their opponents, who only have five countries ranked below them in a 210-team table.

Igor Stimac's team is still searching for a win in two matches, having drawn against 10-man Bangladesh 1-1 in their opening match on Monday.

A loss or a draw against current table toppers Nepal (six points) on Sunday can make it difficult for India to qualify for the final. The top two teams from the round-robin league qualify for the final to be played on October 16.

India made three changes from the previous match, with Seriton Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai replacing Chinglensana Singh and Pritam Kotal in defence and Suresh Singh coming in for Manvir Singh in attack.

India's best chance of the first half came in the 22nd minute but Liston Colaco's free header from a nice cross from the right flank by Udanta Singh sailed over the bar. India kept on pressing for a goal but failed to put any real pressure on the opposition defence in the remaining period of the half.

In the 60th minute, Dessai flashed a low cross across the face of the Sri Lankan goal but Anirudh Thapa could not reach to the ball.

As Indians grew frustrated, Stimac was booked for arguing with the referee.

India missed a golden opportunity to steal a winner two minutes before regulation time. An inswinging Mohammad Yasir corner was flicked on at the near post by Chhetri and the ball found its way to Subhasish Bose at the far post. It needed a simple tap-in from Bose but he blazed it over and Sri Lanka escaped with a draw.