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Thiruvananthapuram: Robin Singh scored both goals as hosts India began their 2015/16 SAFF Championship campaign on Saturday with a dominant 2-0 victory over Sri Lanka.

India had the lion’s share of possession in both halves and would have went into the interval at the Trivandrum International Stadium with a commanding lead had it not been for the inspirational performance of keeper Sujan Perera.

The Sri Lanka skipper did superbly well to deny Sanju Pradhan, Sunil Chhetri, and Jeje Lalpekhlua, before Eugeneson Lyngdoh tried to catch him out at the near post as the Kalatura Park SC stopper set himself for the cross only for the Bengaluru FC midfielder’s effort from the left to come back off the woodwork.

Perera was beaten five minutes after the interval when skipper Sunil Chhetri collected a long ball from inside the India half before cutting it back into the path of Singh, whose grounded shot beat the Sri Lankan keeper to his right.

The 33-year-old custodian then displayed superb reflexes to deny the Delhi Dynamo’s forward a quick second as he deflected another Chhetri cross from the left goalwards.

The pattern of India's dominance continued and their pressure paid off with quarter-of-an-hour remaining as Singh scored his second of the night but the goal came at a cost for the six-time South Asian champions, with the 25-year-old picking up a knock in the process and was substituted by Lollianzuala Chhangte two minutes later.

India round off their group stage campaign on Sunday when they take on Nepal with head coach Stephen Constantine knowing that a draw against his former employers will be enough to see them and Sri Lanka, who defeated the Nepalese 1-0 in Thursday’s opening fixture, through to the semi-finals.

Photo: Lagardere Sport

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