St. Patrick’s College defended brilliantly to pull off a narrow 2-1 win against a resilient Hameed Al Husseinie at the City League Grounds last evening (1st).
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Al Husseinie kicked off with an ambitious effort on goal which was struck well wide of the target, but showed their intentions from the first second of the match.
Al Husseinie dominated play in the early going, with the majority of action taking place inside the St. Patrick’s half. They then created a great opportunity when a powerful cross was struck into the opposition box, but the St. Patrick’s defender bravely went in with a diving header to block the cross before it could reach the onrushing forward.
The home team were then presented with another opportunity when St. Patrick’s defender, S. Vinithan leapt to try and head the ball but missed completely leaving Hameedian Dinesh Suren clear on goal with no one but the keeper to beat. Vinithan recovered brilliantly and made a perfectly timed sliding tackle to prevent the shot just in the nick of time.
St. Patrick’s keeper A.P. Diluxshan went on to make two brilliant saves, that could have been easy goals if not for some poor finishing.
St. Patrick’s then went onto draw first blood when they broke on the counter and E. Diniyas played a through-ball that should have been easily intercepted by the defender, but found its way to P. Samson, who with a good finish beat the Hameedian keeper Mohamed Nuskan to the top corner of the net.
Al Husseinie then went onto find the back of the net, but to the dismay of their players and fans, the flag was raised for offside.
Things went from bad to worse for them when their defender made a reckless challenge inside their own box and the referee pointed straight to the spot for a penalty. Patrick’s N. Baviraj stepped up to take the spot-kick and calmly slotted it right down the middle with the keeper deciding to dive to the right, doubling St. Patrick’s lead.
Towards the end of the first half, a home player went down a bit too theatrically inside the opposition box, but the referee was not fooled despite cries for a penalty from some Hameedian supporters. This led to some very unruly scenes as the afore mentioned Al Husseinie supporters were attempting to intimidate the referee, yelling out in obscene language, which resulted in the referee halting play briefly. One of the Hameed players tried to intimidate the referee on field as well, but their captain M. Sahan smartly rushed up and shoved his player away before he could get himself sent off.
Half Time: Hameed Al Husseinie 0 – 2 St. Patrick’s College
The first real chance of the second half came in the form of a free-kick to Al Husseinie just outside the opposition box, M. Kurshid took a strong kick, but it was struck straight at the wall. Hameed seemed to be doing most of the attacking early in the second half, but St. Patrick’s defense was resiliently holding on strong.
St. Patrick’s finally got another golden opportunity to solidify their victory when they broke on the counter once again and Baviraj found himself 1v1 against the Al Husseinie keeper inside the box, but his powerful shot saw a spectacular save by keeper Nuskan to keep his side in the game.
Al Husseinie were resilient as ever not giving up until the final whistle and came very close to pulling one back when a shot from inside the box struck the inside of the post before rolling along the goal line; it was hurriedly cleared away before it could cross the line.
Al Husseinie kept on the front foot and it finally paid off when in the 88th minute, Mohamed Afkar took a strong strike from inside the opposition box to beat Diluxshan and cut the deficit down to 1 goal.
Al Husseinie fighting till the end got a great opportunity to equalize when a corner struck into the box was headed towards goal well but it came crashing back off the crossbar before being cleared. It was Al Husseinie who also had the final chance of the match when a shot following a free-kick into the box was fired over the crossbar, with Hameed’s sloppy finishing surely costing them at least a point in this match.
Full Time: Hameed Al Husseinie 1 – 2 St. Patrick’s College
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – P. Samson (St. Patrick’s College)
St. Patrick’s College: P. Samson 17’, N. Baviraj 34’
Hameed Al Husseinie: Mohamed Afkar 88’
St. Patrick’s College: R. Rahul 22’, E. Diniyas 90+5’
Hameed Al Husseinie: M. Kurshid 39’