Sri Lanka edged out India 6-5 in sudden death of the hard fought semi-final to book a place in the final of the football competition of the 10th South Asian Federation Games here Thursday.
Sri Lanka will now play the winner of the Pakistan-Nepal semi-final to be played at Thursday night, while India, which fielded an under-20 side for the eight-nation competition, will play for the bronze medal Saturday.
After the regulation time of the 90 minutes failed to produce a goal, both teams scored once each in the extra time. Sri Lanka scored with less than a minute before the final whistle of second half of the extra time to take the match into the tiebreaker and subsequently into sudden death.
In the tiebreaker, both teams progressed neck and neck as a packed Sugathadasa Stadium cheered for their home side.
India's Lalramluaha, Rakesh Masih and Reisangmi Vashum failed to score crucial goals off their penalty kicks in the tiebreaker that led to the team's defeat.
Sri Lanka's Nuwantha Pharak scored the match winner and immediately removed his shirt to celebrate his team's entry into the final to be played Saturday.
In the extra time, India took the lead when Lalramluaha's brilliantly accurate free kick from just outside the penalty area on right side went into the goal in the 97th minute.
Even a desperate dive by the goalkeeper failed to stop the ball from hitting the far corner of the net.
India would have led 2-0, but captain Zaidinmawia Hmar failed to convert a penalty awarded in the dying seconds of first half of the extra time. The weak penalty kick was easily saved by the goalkeeper.
Sri Lanka once came very close to equalising in second half of the extra time, but the ball went inches over the bar. A penalty corner resulted, but it also went waste.
But just when India looked to secure a berth in the final, Hirohito Elangbam handled the ball in the penalty area and the referee awarded the penalty kick to Sri Lanka.
S. Perera made no mistake a minute before the final whistle, taking the game into tiebreaker.
--Indo-Asian News Service