Blue Star SC in a performance to forget managed to labour past Leo SC 3-0 in a 4th round FA Cup at the Vernon Fernando Stadium, Kalutara.
In the 3rd round Blue Star defeated Renown SC from Hatton 3-0 while Leo stunned the now relegated from Champions League, Thihariya Youth 2-0.
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It was a game where Blue Star SC were overwhelming favourites to drown the opposition with goals. However much to the disbelief of the die-hard Blue Star fans, they could only find three goals and that too after making heavy work. The young attacking trio of Basith Ameer, Mohamed Mazeer and Mohamed Risan missed chances at a canter.
Blue Star did have a few players missing but against an unheralded side from Kurunegala they should have made light work of the game. The experienced Tharaka Silva and Sanjeewa Seemon linked up well and harassed the defenders on the right but the chances they created were wasted.
After squandering chances and testing the patience of the fans Basith Ameer finally opened the scoring albeit from a deflection.
The goal did not open the flood gates as Leo SC continued to frustrate the hosts and in some instances created opportunities of their own.
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On the stroke of half time a contentious incident occurred when referee Asitha Tharanga awarded a penalty and showed a red card to Leo SC goalkeeper Haleem Ishaq, for an apparent foul on Mohamed Mazeer. However it looked like a clean save from Ishaq where he robbed the ball off the onrushing Mazeer.
Mohamed Irshan would score past a stranded replacement goalkeeper to give a 2-0 lead into half time.
Half Time – Blue Star SC 2 – 0 Leo SC
It was expected that Blue Star would come into the 2nd half all guns blazing, but again they lacked intent though their passing, especially the short passing, looked to have improved.
Leo would again have to change the goalkeeper after the replacement got injured. The defense looked firm compared to the 1st half as they did not give anything away to the opposition.
Fahir Ali who made a marauding run from center-back missed a sitter but substitute Mohamed Sahlan made it 3-0 in the 78th minute taking advantage of a neat back-flick from Mazeer.
At the end of full time it was the poor performance of Blue Star and the poor refereeing, including some questionable off-side calls, that became the post-match talking point.
Full Time – Blue Star SC 3 – 0 Leo SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Tharaka Silva
Speaking to ThePapare.com Leo SC Head Coach Nihal Fernando;
“We gave a good fight against one of Sri Lanka’s top most clubs. We are a small club and to play well against a big club like this was a privilege. We beat another Champions League side Thihariya Youth in the earlier round. Refereeing standard was low. It wasn’t a foul and even if it was one it should only have been a yellow card. The referee even blasted us saying we are a little team from an unknown place and to shut-up and play.”
Blue Star Head Coach Chandradasa Karunarathne was not at all pleased with the performance;
“We didn’t have the big players today. Not at all happy with how we played. We didn’t have much practice. FA Cup is a big tournament and we need to put good referees. Don’t think the penalty incident deserved a red card.”
Blue Star SC – Basith Ameer 18’, Mohamed Irshan 45’, Mohamed Sahlan 78’