Crystal Palace FC defeated New Youngs FC 3-2 on penalties after it ended 1-1 at full time in the 4th round of the FA Cup, at the Jayathilake Stadium, Nawalapitiya.
At the initial fixture date the match was postponed due to heavy rain in the 65th minute with both teams locked at 1-1.
The match was a heavyweight clash between the two Dialog Champions League teams and it was a rare sight seeing two big teams meeting as early as the 4th round.
Both teams came into the tie on the backdrop of some impressive victories. Crystal Palace had beaten Nawagampura SC 3-1 in the earlier tie and New Youngs had thrashed new comers University of Moratuwa 7-0 leading up to this game.
Fans wanted to see goals raining in the game not the literal rain. Rain played the villain to both teams and fans of this beautiful game.
Crystal Palace dominated the proceedings. Early chance fell to Crystal Palace but the strong defence of New Youngs were upto it and were able to convert it to a corner.
Mohamed Shifan got the next chance from a smart pass in the next few minutes and his shot was on target and would’ve been the opener if not for the terrific save from New Youngs shotstopper Kaveesh Fernando. Crystal Palace was creating chances from all sides of the pitch and should’ve been ahead but the finishing in front of the goal let the team down.
It was quieter on the other end of the pitch as New Youngs had to go into their shell to stop Crystal Palace from scoring the opener. That’s not to say New Youngs didn’t get any chances to open the scorebook. They got a freekick in a dangerous position but the kicker could not lift the ball above the strong wall of Crystal Palace.
New Youngs got their best chance in the form of Mohamed Fawzan who ran through the packed defence of Crystal Palace with some out of the world dribbling. However his shot at the end was tame and was blocked by the last line of defenders.
Against the run of play Hasitha Priyankara of New Youngs broke the dead lock in the 33rd minute by scoring a header. A long ball from the New Youngs defence was too much to handle for Crystal Palace defenders as they failed to clear the ball and the goalkeeper thought of doing some Manuel Neuer and came out of the blocks to clear the ball.
Well, Manuel Neuer-ing is hard and he failed to clear the ball and the oncoming striker Hasitha headed the ball into the empty net to score the opener.
Crystal Palace chased for the equalizer and came close when Mohamed Ibam’s shot came off the goal post. Neat possession football from the hosts opened up a shot for them which was initially saved by the brilliant Kaveesh Fernando but he could only parry it away to Haritha Ratnayake. Haritha took a shot from the rebound from the edge of the penalty box and the New Youngs goalkeeper couldn’t do anything about it.
Half time – Crystal Palace FC 1 – 1 New Youngs FC
Second half started as the game was nicely poised and with both teams chasing for the winner. Persistent rain that us Sri Lankan cricket fans know all too much about came soon after to play spoilsport.
Both teams chased for the winner in the waterlogged pitch but both couldn’t disturb the goal net for the next 20 minutes. New Youngs came close with a couple of free-kicks but Susil Pradeep and Mohamed Mushikan couldn’t threaten the goal from range.
By the 65th minute the pitch has become waterlogged and referee Prashath Rajkrishna stopped the play and asked the players to return to the dugout.
After the recommencement a week later 90 minutes was not enough to separate the two sides as it went for penalties.
In the shootout it was the hosts who came out on top winning 3-2 and booked a place in the final 16. The hero was Crystal Palace skipper Charitha Rathnayake who replaced the injured goalkeeper after the 2nd penalty kick was taken. Rathnayake went onto to save all three penalties thereafter.
Full time – Crystal Palace 1(3) – 1(2) New Youngs FC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Charitha Rathnayake
Crystal Palace FC – Charitha Rathnayake 45’
New Youngs FC – Hasitha Priyankara 33’
Crystal Palace FC – Mohammed Shifan 54’