COMPILED BY RANJIKA PERERA
11 June, Saturday – Sri Lanka vs. Thailand at 5 p.m. Sri Lankan time*
14 June, Tuesday – Sri Lanka vs. the Maldives at 5 p.m. Sri Lankan time
*Both matches will be played at the Markaziy Stadium, Namangan, Uzbekistan
Sri Lanka kicked off their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers’ final round Group “C” opener with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the host nation Uzbekistan at the Markaziy Stadium, Qarshi on Wednesday (8).
It was the hosts who dominated from the beginning of the match and, if not for the brilliance of Sujan Perera’s glove-work, Sri Lanka would have been looking at a worse loss.
Sri Lanka, under their Interim Head Coach Hassan Roomy, decided to hand Sebastianpillai Jesuthasan his national debut in the game. At the other end, the Uzbeks had fielded their strongest team, reports confirmed.
After a stern defensive effort for more than half hour from the Lankans, Uzbekistan finally beat Perera in the 36th minute when Jaloliddin Masharipov curled in a beautiful free kick.
They doubled the lead three minutes into the second half with another free kick from Dostonbek Khamdamov. The final nail on the coffin came late in the second half when Farrukh Sayfiev pounced on a poor clearance from Sri Lanka.