Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 23 (IANS) Mohamed Rifnas found a 90th minute winner for his side as Sri Lanka beat Nepal 1-0 in the inaugural match of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championships at the Trivandrum International Stadium here on Wednesday. Rifnas capitalised on a defensive error to slot home an easy goal.

The last Nepal defender could not hold the ball and the Lankan emerged from behind to tuck it in. Earlier, it was a bright start for the Islanders as a Kavindu Ishan cross just needed a touch from the Lankan forwards to surge ahead in the sixth minute, but none could guide the ball into the empty net. Rohit Chand with a header then almost clinched Nepal’s opener but rival goalkeeper Sujan Perera pulled off a brilliant save to deny the midfielder.

Nepal thereafter had more possession of the ball but could not set up any clear-cut opportunities until the 21st minute. A free-kick was punched away by Perera but the rebound fell in the way of a Nepalese forward who could not find the back of the net. Frustrated, Nepal’s teenage sensation Anjan Bisht tried his luck from a distance but his shot flew well over the crossbar.

 

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