Action from the match between Sri Lanka and Lebanon
By Susil Premalal
Sri Lanka’s superb performance against Lebanon in the 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminary round 2 (Asian zone) and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers is the sign of a new era for football internationally for Sri Lanka, Football Sri Lanka (FSL) president Anura de Silva told the ‘Daily Mirror’.
Bottom-ranked Sri Lanka punched above their weight to go down fighting at the Goyang Stadium in South Korea on Saturday to a team ranked 93rd in the FIFA world rankings.
Sri Lanka suffered a 3-0 defeat in the first leg of this Group H clash against the same opposition.
The FSL hired the services of a European Pro Licence coach Amir Alagic as head coach with the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and SAFF Cup as a target in the long term but within a short time span he has lifted the standard of the team, said de Silva, a former national captain.
This is the first international outing since Alagic was also appointed as Technical Director of FSL. Sri Lanka played cautiously in the first half and went on the offensive in the second session, but they could have earned a draw if they had played attacking football from the first-half, said de Silva. FSL has invested in the Catapult system at a cost of US$ 17,000 which measures the physical fitness of the players and helps the coaching staff analyse their performance, the FSL president said. Sri Lanka is scheduled to play South Korea on June 9. Irrespective of the result, the objective of Sri Lanka would be to contain South Korea who are ranked 38 in the world. Sri Lanka were drubbed 8-0 in the first leg against South Korea.
Waseem Razeek scored the opening goal in the match against Lebanon in the 10th minute before Lebanon wrested back the initiative scoring three goals on the trot. Razeek pulled one back from the spot after 60 minutes, but Lebanon hung on to the victory.