India came out worthy winners over Sri Lanka in their final Group A match to book a place in the semi finals as the runner up of the group, behind Afghanistan who routed Bhutan 8-1 earlier on the day. India will now play Maldives in the first semi final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
India named an unchanged eleven from the last game in an encounter in which they needed atleast a draw to progess to the next stage of the competition. India dominated most of the first half, but failed to open their account in the first period of play.
In the 40th minute, Jeje Lalpekhlua displayed amazing acrobatics to overturn a shot on goal, but his effort hitting the woodwork. Sri Lanka also had occasional shots on goal, but custodian Karanjit Singh was solid under the bars.
India found the opener five minutes into the second half as Jeje found the back of the net, from a rebound of the keeper from a Sunil Chhetri effort. Soon after the goal, Sri Lanka found the back of the net, but the referee ruled the move an offside.
Jeje and Chhetri could have further increased India’s lead in the following minutes, but excellent saves from Sri Lankan keeper Sujan Perreira denied them. India found their second goal in the 70th minute as Sunil Chhetri rose well to head in a Clifford Miranda cross leaving Perreira with no chance.
The win was complete in the additional time when AB Warakagoda put the ball at the back of his own net when he tried to clear a cross from Steven Diaz. India will now play Maldives on December 9 aiming for a final berth.
India 3-0 Sri Lanka
Goals: Jeje Lalpekhlua (50′), Sunil Chhetri (69′), Bandara Warakagoda (90′)