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Football: Mahinda Rajapaksa Trophy |10 November 2021

Football: Mahinda Rajapaksa Trophy

Unveiling the tournament’s trophy

Tournament officially opened with trophy unveiling


  • Sri Lanka and Maldives share eight-goal thriller


Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s four-nation football tournament, being hosted in neighbouring Sri Lanka, was officially opened on yesterday afternoon after a one-day delay due to bad weather.

This much-anticipated event was attended by guest of honour, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as well as sports ministers from the participating nations and the four participating teams.

The opening ceremony involved a mixture of traditional and modern dances and more symbolically the unveiling of this prestigious trophy by President Solih along with Sri Lankan Minister for Sports and Youth Namal Rajapaksa and Football Sri Lanka president Jaswar Uwar.


Sri Lanka fight back to stun Maldives

As for the most important event which was the debut of this 10-day tournament, Sri Lanka showed great strength of character to fight back from 4-0 down to share an eight-goal thriller as Ahamed Waseem Razeek scored all their four goals at the Race Course International stadium in Colombo in front of a decent crowd.

The Maldives ceased control of the match as they opened the scoring in the 7th minute through Ali Ashaq who headed past Sri Lanka goalkeeper and captain Sujan Perera for a 1-0 lead and the hosts had yet recovered when they gave away another sloppy goal, allowing Ali Fasir to break clear and slot the ball home to make it 2-0.

It got worse for Sri Lanka in the 33rd minute as they gave too much space to their opponents allowing Ibrahim Hussein to ghost past two defenders to plant the ball into the net for a 3-0 advantage at half-time.

The Maldivians added a fourth goal in the 58th minute as Ashaq sliced through the Sri Lankan defence to score his brace and increase the tally to 4-0 which should have put this match to bed.

Amazingly, the Sri Lankans showed a never say die attitude and soon reduced the deficit in the 63rd minute courtesy of Ahamed Waseem Razeek who blasted the ball into the roof of the net for a 1-4 score and five minutes later, Razeek bagged his brace with a carbon copy of his first strike for a 2-4 scoreline.

The Sri Lankans now had the wind in their sail as the Maldivians looked to be running out of steam and Razeem grabbed his hat-trick in the 71st minute to make it 3-4.

The Maldivians, coached by former Inter Milan player and teammate of the great Ronaldo of Brazil Francesco Moreiro, tried to wind down the clock but conceded a fourth goal on the stroke of fulltime from a corner which was knocked down at the feet of who else but Razeem who stabbed the ball home for his fourth personal goal and an incredible 4-4 scoreline which raised the roof at the Race Course stadium as the tournament which had been hampered by severe weather kickstarted on a high note with Razeem being deservedly voted the man-of-the-match.

The Seychelles national team coached by Vivian Bothe will be in action today against Bangladesh at 2.30pm Seychelles time. The game was supposed to be the opening match of the four-nation Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Trophy in Colombo but has been deferred twice.

Originally scheduled for Monday, the match was first deferred to yesterday (Tuesday) initially due to heavy rain. More heavy rains overnight forced the authorities to defer it once again, this time to today.

Seychelles’ second match is on Saturday when they will face hosts Sri Lanka at 7.30pm and they will conclude their three-match campaign on Tuesday when they meet the Maldives.

The Four Nations Cup will proceed until November 19. The finals were initially to be held on November 17. However, it was delayed in order to make arrangements as Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) president Giovanni Vincenzo ‘Gianni’ Infantino is scheduled to make an appearance as the guest of honour in the final game.

The Maldives’ second match in the tournament will be against Bangladesh tomorrow.

In an earlier Four Nations Cup tournament in 2012, Maldives took home the trophy. However, the championship was held for under-23 teams back then.








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