Dhaka, BANGLADESH - Goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal spared his side's blushes with a string of fine second-half saves as Maldives battled to a 0-0 draw with Sri Lanka in their SAFF Suzuki Cup opener on Friday.
After the goalless draw India secured a place in the semi final from group B and Maldives needs a draw to confirm a place in the semi final.
Sri Lanka started the match with few changes and played a very defensive game. But they were on the better side from the counter attacks.
Maldives created the first chance after three minutes from a descent shot by Ibrahim Waheed from a corner kick from Hassan Naiz. Thirteen minutes later, Maldives missed another good chance to score when Ali Fasir's free kick hits the wood works.
In the 21st minute Sri Lankan striker Aseyla Madushan scored a goal but it was ruled off side.
In the second half things were changed and two sides fought evenly for most of the time and created good chances to score.
In the hour mark Maldives stopper Mohamed Faisal was forced to stop two dangerous attacks from Duckson and Asikurahman.
In the 82nd minute, Faisal made another match winning save to stop the shot from Madhushan and Dhavindhu made another attempt on target from the rebounded ball, which was also saved by keeper Faisal.
In the last minute of the game Maldives missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Ali Fasir's shot from the right edge of the penalty area was pushed by Riham Abdul Ghani into the net. But referee ruled it for an off-side.