Army through to final on penalties
After trailing by one goal to nil defending champion Sri Lanka Army fought back gallantly and booked a berth in the final of the Holcim F. A. Cup final by knocking out Renown S. C. by 4 -2 in a penalty shoot-out after the full time score stood at one-all in the second semi-final played at the City Football Complex on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka Army will meet Sri Lanka Navy in the final which will be played at the Jayatilleke Stadium, Nawalapitiya on August 18.
The skipper and goal keeper of Renown should be blamed for this loss as he willingly took the first spot kick to send the ball wide off the right post which was a bad sign for his side.
And then the custodian S. Bandara of the Army blocked a straight forward kick by M. Anam to give his side the upperhand in the penalty tie breaker.
Coming back to the game it was the soldiers who started attacking in the first ten minutes but their forwards were out of target missing many chances.
Renown players got settled in the 20th minute and they made some fine movements but to no avail.
In the 36th minute of the game M.N.M. Fazal receiving a short pass close to the Army goal placed the ball into the bottom corner of the left post to give Renown a one-nil lead.
Ten minutes later Dilan Roshan receiving a superb low cross had all the time to score but he was over enthusiastic. His kick into the goal never had any power and the Army goal keeper held his grip on to the ball to save a certain goal.
After the change of sides the soldiers completely changed their pattern and tactics and intruded the Renown defence on several occasions but Issadeen, Sudharshana Gunasinghe and Madushan de Silva all failed score.
The physically fit soldiers never gave up and in the 65th minute Issadeen sent a low pass to Gurusinghe who obliged to equalise the score one-all.
From here onwards both sides tried their best to get the winning goal but both goal keepers put up some brave efforts to save them and referee Dilan Perera implemented the penalty tie breaker to find the winner.
Penalties as it were scored:
Y. Satheeskumar (Renown) – off target.
L. Jayathunga (Army) 1-0
M. Irshad (Renown) 1-1
Madushan Silva (Army) 2-1
M. N. M. Fazal (Renown) 2-2
Sajith Kumara (Army) 3-2
M. I. Anam (Renown) blocked
M. N. M. Issadeen (Army) 4-2
By Tony Mike