It was a thrilling encounter that lived up to all expectations when Army SC took on Renown SC in the final of the Cargills FA Cup 2016 at the Sugathadasa stadium; with Army eventually claiming a hard fought 3-1 victory over Renown, in a game that had everything one could dream of.
Army SC got off to the better start of the two teams, causing problems for the Renown defence with some high pressing from their frontmen. Issadeen and Suraj Bernard caused problems down the right with some dangerous crosses into the box which had Renown scrambling. The first clear cut chance however came Reniown’s way, falling to the feet of Job Michael, who was played through on goal but dragged his final effort wide of the post from close range.
Renown SC opened the scoring with a screamer after Fazal found skipper Rifnaz in space outside the box, who then smashed a shot into the top corner to give them the advantage. Renown dominance continued throughout the half as Army keeper Nilantha Kumara had to make several crucial saves to deny Job Michael and Fazul Rahman.
Disaster struck for Renown on the verge of half time when Sanka Dhanushke squeezed ball under keeper Usman from a tight angle, under pressure from Francis to draw Army level. Francis however was unhappy with the referee and whilst making his feelings known, got a red card in the process to hand a clear advantage to the Soldiers. Fazal nearly chipped the keeper with the last effort of the half, his effort going just wide, to bring to end one of the best halves of the tournament.
Renown started the better team in the second half, with a great chance falling to Michael inside the box but he could only blaze his effor over the crossbar. Army initially struggled to make the numerical advantage count but when Pushpakumara released Sajith Kumara down the right, his cross found Issadeen unmarked inside the box, and the veteran gave them the 2-1 lead they desperately wanted.
Following the second the goal though, Army SC began their domination of the game with the Renown defence tiring, as they kept possesion well, creating a few chances which Renown keeper Usman dealt with; Issadeen, Sajith Kumara and Pushpakumara all missing opportunities to put the game beyond Renown’s reach.
Renown brought on young Farood Fais and Mohomed Umaid late on, but the numerical disadvantage ultimately proved too much to overcome, as the Army defence held firm through some testing periods. It was Army however who had the last play of the game, with Sajith Kumara squaring the ball for Issadeen to tap home his second, cueing emphatic celebrations from their supporters.
The referee blew the final whistle seconds afterwards, as Army clinched their second FA Cup crown in 3 years as well as the crown of FA Cup Champions 2016.
ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Mohammed Issadeen