Published: Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:00
Semi Finals – (Kick Off 3.30pm) on 14-12-2013 Don Bosco v Renown SC at Bogambara Stadium & 15-12-2013 Air Force v Solid SC at Bogambara Stadium
QF1 – Solid go through on penalties
Solid SC beat Ratnam 4-3 on penalties at the Vernon Fernando Stadium in Kalutara. At the end of full time scores was level at 1 all.
In a tense opening half both teams were desperate to assert their authority in the match and A.O. Shola gave the initiative for Solid in the 17th minute with a wonderfully taken goal. Ratnam equalized in the injury time through veteran E.B. Channa.
In the second half both sides had opportunities but were unable to make full use for them. In the penalty shootout Abeysekara, Maduranga and Rangana scored for Ratnam while Prabath, Madushanka, Shola and Francis scored for Solid.
QF2 – Air Force stun Army
Air Force defeated Army SC 2-1, who were the favourites of the tournament in a thrilling match at the Vernon Fernando Stadium in Kalutara.
Army, the most feared side in the Champions League with the highest scorer in Mohamed Issadeen started brightly but a tactically sound Air Force defense weathered the initial storm. Air Force’s tactic of blocking off the feed channels to Issadeen worked brilliantly as Issadeen was isolated in the first half.
Air Force’s W.D.S. Fernando gave the lead in the 36th minute and went into lemons with a deserved 1-0 lead. In the second half Issadeen had to drop back into midfield to receive the ball but the Air Force men made him work hard and it left him frustrated. In the 75th minute N.D. Bandara scored the second and by the time Issadeen scored Army’s opener in the 90th minute it was little too late for the tournament favourites.
QF3 – Renown overcome Blue Star
A packed crowd at CR & FC grounds witnessed an exhilarating game of football as Mohamed Fazal’s goal sent Renown to the semi finals of the Dialog Champions League 2013.
The Blue Star boys having the best defensive record in the tournament played with heart and had ball possession for more than 65% of the game but their forwards lacked the much desired direction and missed as much as three certain goals in the first half of the game. Blue Star forwards Sanju, Nafeer and 2 Nigerians kept the much experienced Renown guessing all the time but could not find the net at all and it was 0-0 at lemons.
Soon after resumption Renown changed the game plan but the solid and tall defense line with three 6 footers manning did not allow pocket rocket Fazal to move in much. But at a rare opportunity in the 75th minute, with a corner kick which came at speed beating the defenders and Fazal made no mistake with a header into the net to make it 1-0 for Renown, to the disbelief of the majority Blue Star supports at the grounds.
Soon after the lead Renown started attacking which resulted in the dependable Nigerian defender M.N. Opayemi came in to confrontation with a Renown player and the referee had to send off at the 80th minute.
QF4 – Don Bosco blitz down Colombo FC
An inspired ten minutes in the second half by Don Bosco where they scored 3 goals beat the much fancied Colombo FC in the 4th Quarter Final.
A brace by Priyankara Silva and a goal by Kumara Fernando gave Don Bosco the deserved win. Coming into the match it was the free scoring Colombo FC who were the favourites as they were the highest goal scorers as well as the second best defensive team in the tournament. They started true to their form scoring in the 9th minute through N.Kanishka but a determined Don Bosco defense made certain it stayed that way till half time.
After the break Don Bosco made a much more aggressive start and it paid off when Kumara Fernando equalized in the 65th minute. Priyankara Silva made it 2-1 in the 69th minute and doubled the lead in the 75th minute much to excitement of their fans. A shocked Colombo FC staged a comeback and scored the 2nd in the 78th minute through Mohamed Rifnaz but the gritty Don Bosco held off the Colombo FC in the final 12 minutes.