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Chinese Taipei Left Stunned By Tenacious Sri Lanka (25/07/2011)

Day 3, Match 4 (25/07/2011)

Sri Lanka vs Chinese Taipei

Half-time score: 1-2

Full-time score: 2-2

Chinese Taipei Left Stunned By Tenacious Sri Lanka

By Eddie dos Passos/HKHA

Tournament favourites Chinese Taipei were given a rude awakening by Sri Lankan when both sides were left to share the points after they match ended in a 2-2 draw at King’s Park.

The Chinese Taipei side saw the coach left the venue vexing as he just was unable to make comments about the game.

“We have no chance…no chance,” where all the words the Chinese Taipei coach,” Tsai Yi Ming was able to say after the game.

“We had many chances (at goal) but once we were inside the circle we just did not know what to do,” said Tsai.

It was a stark contrast to their opening game two nights ago when they came back from an early goal to Hong Kong to complete a 7-1 rout over the host side.

“It was difficult for us,” he said, without elaborating his cause of concern, citing “No chance! No chance!”.

Sri Lanka, on the other-hand were all smiles as all the players and the coaching staff were all clapping each other on the backs celebrating their draw, to which was akin to a victory over a side that was expected to maul and come away with another high-scoring result.

“We have definitely made progress,” said Sri Lanka coach Leelananda Ittapana.

Comparing his opening match between his side and Iran, which coincidently ended in a 2-2 draw, he felt his side showed true fighting spirit coming back from the dead.

“The boys tonight showed ‘real fighting spirit’,” said Ittapana.

“The players have shown to me they have fully recovered in every department,” he said.

He said that his decision to rely on deflections in penalty corners was also the turning point to their campaign as they clearly showed against Chinese Taipei.

“The direction on our part was good and was especially so in the penalty corners,” he said.

He also cited his goalkeeper’s quick reflexes to keeping Chinese Taipei at bay.

Our keeper’ certainly saved us, I am sure he made three important saves and that was the difference between us and Chinese Taipei,” he said.

Chinese Taipei will have to regroup and plan accordingly for their remaining matches after they were left wondering what they needed to do to score against Sri Lanka, who drew first blood within six minutes of play through a Rajitha Kulathunga penalty corner.

Then some good disruptive play saw Chinese Taipei level through charismatic goal-scorer Tseng Fu Yuan, to add to his hat-trick he notched against Hong Kong in their opening game.

Tseng, then added a second in the 28th minute, also from the field, to end the match the tournament’s leading scorer on five goals and take his side into the break on a 2-1 lead.

Sri Lanka, not to be outdone, pressured back after surviving a bombardment of Chinese Taipei attacks for a 47th minute equalizer, this time from a Pushpa Kumara Hendeniya penalty corner deflection.