The Dialog Champions League returned this past week after a 4 month layoff, with the more fancied sides finally getting some much needed points on the board to kick-start their campaign.
Colombo FC, Renown and Army all recorded wins in what was an entertaining match week over the past weekend following a drab draw between Air Force and Blue Star to kick things off. Colombo FC now holds the top spot in the points table with Army SC and Blue Star SC closing in.
Blue Star SC v Navy SC (13th January at 3:20pm at Kelaniya Football Complex)
Both Blue Star SC and Navy SC had games to forget in the second week with both sides dropping points. Blue Star played out a drab goalless draw with Air Force while Navy SC were gunned down by Army SC 3-2, courtesy a Mohammed Issadeen brace.
Blue Star will need to up the ante this week if they are to take points off the Sailors who are bound to storm back after a less than impressive performance versus Army SC, where a late charge wasn’t enough to net them a point.
E.B. Channa is vital for Blue Star and they need him to hit form and influence the game if they want to take something from this game, similar to that enthralling performance they put up in match week 1.
Renown SC v Army SC (15th January at 3:20pm at Kelaniya Football Complex)
Renown will have the opportunity for revenge in this rematch of last year’s FA Cup final where Renown after taking the lead were defeated 3-1 in controversial circumstances surrounding the equalizing goal and sending off of Francis Agbeti.
Renown SC were one of the sides that were in fine form at the point the tournament came to a halt and that break certainly seems to have affected them as seen by their first half performance versus New Youngs.
Though they did beat the Wennappuwa side, Renown had to labour to that win after falling behind initially.
Without the injured Afam Akram, Renown SC need to dig deep to maintain their dominance versus an unbeaten Army side, who brushed aside Navy SC in a commanding performance in week 2.
Army of course have been unbeaten throughout the competition and will look to extend that dominance all the way to the title. Veteran striker Issadeen and Skipper Madushan De Silva both look very dangerous heading into this game, with both of them finding the net in their win over the Sailors.
With all the attacking talent on offer, this game is bound to yield a few goals!
New Youngs FC v Solid SC (16th January at 3:50pm at Kelaniya Football Complex)
Both Solid SC and New Youngs come into this one on the back of losses with Solid getting thumped by reigning Champions Colombo FC, while New Youngs suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Renown.
Solid SC lacked any penetration versus Colombo FC and thus will look to be a more attacking side in this game.
New Youngs on the other hand outplayed Renown in the first half of their game and will be looking to do more of the same as they go in search of their first win of the second stage. The Wennappuwa lads have been effective, but maintaining that effectiveness over the ninety minutes is what will put them into contention.
Supun Kaveesh is once again likely to be vital for the Wennappuwa side while Solid need their strikers Abumer and Peshala Rajakaruna, both of whom went missing last week, to find their feet again.
Air Force SC v Colombo FC (17th January at 3:20pm at Kelaniya Football Complex)
The reigning Champions take on the Airmen as overwhelming favourites in the final clash of match week 3.
Colombo FC are on the back of a 3-0 thumping of Solid SC and will look to extend their lead at the top of the table. They will be looking to the likes of Ahmed Shazny, David Osagie and Yapo to continue the amazing work they have put in while they also have options on the bench in the form of Zarwan Johar, who created a big impact after coming on last week.
Air Force SC on the other hand, haven’t really got going as of yet with their consecutive draws, but have bags of quality in the form of Nipuna Banadara and D.K. Duminda, both of whom are very effective on their day.
Expect a tactical battle between Mohammed Roomy’s and Sampath Perera’s sides.