The eagerly anticipated final of this year’s Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship will be played between St.Patrick’s College, Jaffna and Zahira College, Colombo on the 5th of November at the Durayappa Stadium in Jaffna.
The Semi Finals
Zahira avenge St.Henry’s
The highlight of the semifinal phase was the colossal clash between last year’s finalists St.Henry’s College, Jaffna and Zahira College, Colombo. There was no shortage of drama as the Jaffna lads squandered their advantage not once but twice during the game.
A late equalizer with seconds remaining and nerves of steel from Zahira College in the penalty shootout saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against reigning champions St.Henry’s College in the Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship semi final at the Durayappah Stadium, Jaffna.
The utmost talking point was the antics displayed by the St. Henry’s custodian who gave away a careless late equalizer to their visitors with seconds remaining, sending game into a shootout after the game ended at two goals apiece. Zahira held their nerve to secure their place in the finals as the spot kicks ended in their favor at 4-1. St. Henry’s had to becontent with a spot in the consolation finals played on the day of the finals (5th) prior to the finale. St.Patrick’s outlasts St.Joseph Vaz St.Patrick’s, Jaffna and St.Joseph Vaz, Wennappuwa played off a goalless yet energetic stalemate as yet another semi-final was decided inside the twelve yards. Niether team could be separated after the first four attempts exchanging blow to blow with both goalkeepers, especially A.Pirunthapan of St.Patrick’s shining once again with a few magnificent saves.
St.Patrick’s College, Jaffna mastered another penalty shootout as they qualified for the final of the Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship defeating St.Joseph Vaz 7-6 on penalties after it ended 0-0 in full time at the Durayappah Stadium, Jaffna. The heroes for St.
Pirunthapan saved a penalty as well in the shootout and an inspired replacement of goalkeepers bringing in R.Shanthan, saw him save the very next penalty.
That proved to be the difference between the sides as St. Patrick’s secured their place in this year’s final with a 7-6 score line in their favor.
A gutted St. Joseph Vaz setup will join St.Henry’s in the consolation final to battle for 3rd place honours on the 5th of November in Jaffna.
Key Battles and Players
A flamboyant offense against a robust defense
Zahira College, Colombo will walk in to the finals with odds as favorites with their captivating attacking football.
Nevertheless, St. Patrick’s time and time again have proved that their defensive escapades have made them a tough team to breakdown.
It will no doubt be a test of nerve as much as strength and ability in this crunch game as both teams look to rewrite the history books.
Zahira’s attacking cream
Zahira have a rich pool of attacking players with Shafran Sathar, skipper Farood Faiz, Mohomed Murshid and Mohomed Aqib, their U17 skipper who led the side to the All Island Championship a week prior, bombarding in offense from either side.
Mohomed Shaheel will be the anchor man in a defensive midfield position as his ability to play the ball up front from defense and his set-piece prowess being added weapons to their rearguard arsenal.
On the flipside, St.Patrick’s have been rock solid in defense having been breached on a handful of occasions. With their electrifying pace, strength and abundance of fitness, they have frustrated every opponent thrown their way.
Even the likes of Hameed Al Husseinie, who decimate oppositions at will, were struggling to crack through the St.Patrick’s defense despite scoring early in their quarterfinal tie.
With a clinical counter-attacking strategy, the Jaffna lads will no doubt be willing to absorb the pressure and hit back with venom.
R.Santhan, A.Heins their talisman upfront along with, A.Pirunthapan their goalkeeping hero between the sticks will have to fire in all cylinders if St.Patrick’s are to capture their maiden title in their debut appearance in the competition.
After coming out on top in two knockout stage matches (quarter final & semi-final) on penalties, St.Patrick’s will favour their chances of winning if it goes to another shootout in the final.
12th man in favor of the Saints
No doubt the boisterous band of northern voices will play a huge role in this momentous occasion. Zahira quite rarely get outnumbered in the audience as the alma mater faithful never fail to turn up in their numbers. However, this time around the tides have changed as Jaffna was opted to host the finale.
St.Patrick’s on the other side of coin will enjoy the conditions as much as the livelihood of the stadium as they prepare to hunt in their own territory.
With the stage set up for a thriller minute ride this will no doubt be a titanic clash for the title as both teams will look for that final push to be crowned the undisputed champions of this year’s Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship.