Sri Lanka vie for fifth place in AHF Hockey Tourney | Daily News

Sri Lanka vie for fifth place in AHF Hockey Tourney

Action from the match between Sri Lanka and Hong Kong
Action from the match between Sri Lanka and Hong Kong

Sri Lanka will battle it out for fifth place in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Men’s Junior Hockey Tournament after they recorded a consolation 5-3 win over Hong Kong in Muscat, Oman.

The Sri Lankan junior stickers were able to secure third place in Group ‘B’ with a solitary victory while Hong Kong finished at the bottom of the points table. Sri Lanka, of course, went into this game at the backdrop of some uncertainty after having suffered two demoralising defeats at the hands of Uzbekistan (3-7) and Bangladesh (0-14) respectively. However, they got their act together well in this last preliminary round fixture of this eight-team tournament and struck twice in the space of four minutes to set the stage for a convincing victory.

Sri Lanka dominated the early stages of this game and Lahiru Kekulugoda drew first blood in the 19th minute following a good passage of play, initiated from midfield.

Inspired by this early goal, Sri Lanka launched a series of attacking moves from both directions and Deshan Jayakody sounded the boards for the first time in this tournament with a beautifully executed shot from a penalty corner.

However, thereafter, Sri Lanka lost their momentum somewhat and Hong Kong grabbed the opportunity to level the scores 2-2 with back-to-back goals from Yuet Chan and Cameron McNeil shortly before half time.

After the turnaround, Sri Lanka soon produced another important goal in the 34th minute with Sandaruwan Batuwita striking almost with the run of play and to put the pressure back on their opponents. However, four minutes after the 3-2 lead for Sri Lanka, Navjot Singh, one of the most experienced players of the Hong Kong team scored the equaliser again to make it 3-3.

Sri Lanka, after several desperate attempts finally managed to seal the contest in their favour as Man-of-the-Match Pramod Bandara completed a grand double with successive goals in the space of two minutes. The centre forward rose to the occasion during the last quarter of the game and converted a good penalty corner in the 53rd minute to make it 4-3 and two minute later he added the finishing touches to another superb move to make the final score 5-3. Sri Lanka will now join Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia in the playoff matches for the fifth to eighth places of the tournament from today.

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