Dominant India beats Sri Lanka 2-0 in SAFF Championship opener

Ashique Kuruniyan and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored on either side of half-time in an easy 2-0 win for India against Sri Lanka in its opening match in the SAFF Championship.

India went to the top of Group B, courtesy of the 2-0 win against Sri Lanka and will face Maldives in the next match.   -  Special Arrangement

A dominant India began its campaign for the SAFF Championship in style as it made light work of Sri Lanka by beating the subcontinental neighbor 2-0 in its opening fixture at the Bangabandhu Stadium on Wednesday.

Goals from Ashique Kuruniyan (35) and Lalianzuala Chhangte (47) in each half settled the issue for the defending champion.

India started the game on a high tempo and Ashique showed his intention within two minutes of the match when he latched on to the first attack from the left flank.

India, fielding the youngest team in the competition, barged on numerous attacks on the rival citadel but the Islanders kept India away from scoring until the 36th minute when Ashique Kuruniyan sped past his marker and slotted home past a diving keeper for his first International goal.

Read: As it Happened - India 2-0 Sri Lanka

Almost immediately after, India came close to doubling its lead but Chhangte's narrow miss, and a number of acrobatic saves by the Sri Lankan goalie kept the scoresheet unchanged.

After the breather, India took less than 120 seconds to score the second as Chhangte's deep cross from the left wing was misread by the Sri Lankan custodian handing India a 2-0 lead.

Chhangte, by that time, had changed flanks and looked more effective down the left, the Islanders having a torrid time to keep him in check.

Nikhil Poojary, who had a season-long injury lay-off was introduced after the hour-mark and tried his luck off a corner off a Thapa corner but it sailed over the crossbar.

Farukh Chowdhury and substitute Manvir Singh also had their chances but were unable to convert from dangerous positions.

Courtesy the victory, India tops the Group B and will take on Maldives in its next match on September 9.