The Dialog Champions League will go into its second round of matches this weekend and ThePapare.com has a look at what we can expect from the action over the course of the weekend.
Army SC v Blue Star (3rd June at Kelaniya Football Complex at 3.30pm)
Army SC will begin their campaign this week and will be taking on a Blue Star team high on confidence and belief, after their last minute win over Colombo FC.
Army will also be looking to continue the momentum after their FA Cup win and it will be interesting to see if they give Issadeen another week off to fully shake off the hamstring injury he sustained in that game. This will definitely be the game to look out for from Group A.
Colombo FC v Negombo Youth FC (2nd June at City Football Complex at 3.15pm)
Defending champions, Colombo FC will be bitterly disappointed by their first round loss to Blue Star but will be happy that their new look team did perform well for large portions of that game.
Skipper Rawme Mohideen will be suspended after his red card and key for the Colombo FC team will be Dan Ito and Momas Yapo in midfield if they are to break down Negombo Youth, who were brushed aside 2-0 by Solid last week.
Negombo Youth will know that this may be their best chance of upsetting the defending champions and exact revenge on last year’s 6-0 loss to the same opposition at the same venue.
Up-Country Lions v Crystal Palace FC (3rd June at Jayathilake Stadium at 3.30pm)
Crystal Palace will be the favourites in the “Battle of the Hills” with both their key foreign players Erastus and Aba getting on the score sheet in a morale boosting 4-1 win over Matara City in their opening clash.
The Up-Country Lions picked up 3 crucial points last week when they beat Civil Security SC and will be up for the fight in their bid for survival.
Solid SC v Civil Security SC (3rd June at Prison Ground at 3.30pm)
Solid will be the favourites against relegation candidates Civil Security SC, with both teams being on opposite ends of 2-0 score lines in the previous week.
Captain Edison Figurado will be the key for the lads from Anuradhapura who should see their home advantage count, and pick up maximum points from the clash.
Air Force SC v Saunders SC (2nd June at Ekala Air Force Grounds at 3.30pm)
Air Force will be playing their first game of Group B against Saunders in what should be an interesting clash.
Saunders will be without youngster Suntharaj Niresh who will be serving his suspension and their reliable defense will have their work cut out for them against the likes of the Air Force front pairing of Kavindu Ishan and Nipuna Bandara.
Saunders’ concerns would be at the other end of the pitch though and more clinical finishing will be needed if they are to avoid the disappointments they endured last week.
Renown SC v Super Sun SC (2nd June at Kelaniya Football Complex at 3.30pm)
Two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of confidence will feature where Renown are firm favourites to pick up all three points against Super Sun who had a horror showing in their first game against Navy.
Their goalkeeper Mohamed Mubashir in particular will be looking to make amends for a string of errors in their first game and will most certainly have the opportunity to do so, given Renown’s attacking prowess.
Java Lane SC v Police SC (3rd June at City Football Complex at 3.15pm)
Java Lane were lucky to come away with a point against the marauding Thihariya Youth team last week, but will need to bounce back fast if they are to gather some momentum for their Super 8 qualification push.
Police on the other hand were poor against New Youngs but will fancy their chances against a Java Lane team trying to build some momentum.
Navy SC v New Youngs SC (3rd June at Sir Albert F.Peiris Grounds at 3.30pm)
A repeat of the FA Cup round of last 32 match, which saw the Wennappuwa based team knocking the Sailors out of the cup on penalties.
Even in the final group stage match last year, New Youngs stunned Navy in a 5-0 demolition at the Navy Base in Welisara and will be looking to continue the winning streak.
This is expected to be the best game from Group B. Both teams registered high scoring wins and will know that another big result here, may just about help them to take control of their fate during the final weeks of the group stage.