After an enthralling end to end tussle a late Sachintha Maduranga goal stole the points for St.Joseph’s College as they sunk St.Mary’s 2-1 in their Kotmale Chox Schools U19 Football Championship group match at the CR&FC ground.
Match kicked off at Longdon Place with St.Mary’s kicking from right to left.
It was the lads from Negombo who seized the early initiative as they worked both their flanks to trouble the Joes backline. Their brilliant playmaker and leader Shaminda Perera weaved past his opposite numbers with ease causing all sorts of trouble for the Joes in midfield.
They were richly rewarded for their troubles in the 11th minute when a ‘Tharindu Dilaksha’ set piece was smashed home by Shihan Fernando past a stranded Josephian keeper.
With a tactical change in midfield, the Joes tried to contain St.Mary’s midfield dominance up until that point. They managed to do so as their wingers were able to get behind the Marians defense and cause some trouble of their own.
After a spell of dominance, the Josephians were right back in the game when Sachintha Maduranga tapped the ball in on the far post from an excellent ‘Asela Madushan’ corner.
The half drew to an end with chances few and far between with heavy challenges flying in from both sides as they headed to the hut on even terms.
The second half saw a very open game with both sides pressing for a win.
Madushan, Maduranga and Kavindya Rupesinghe wasted valuable opportunities for the Joes as Shaminda Perera was unable to find the end product as his brilliant runs were curtailed by his lack of accuracy for St.Mary’s.
Just when it seemed as though both teams will share the spoils, a swift counter attack from a St.Mary’s set piece saw Rupesinghe running past a few defenders working himself into the box. The little man had the presence of mind to set up his team mate Maduranga who had the composure to completely outfox his defender to thump the ball home in the 84th minute.
With only five minutes left St.Mary’s threw the kitchen sink at the Josephians unfortunately lacking the final product.
The Joes were left in ecstasy as the final whistle blew as they caused a considerable upset in group C.
Despite ending up on losing side it was Shaminda Perera who stood out among the rest as his excellent skill and decision making gave St.Mary’s the edge they required in midfield only lacking the clinical finish at the end of it. With his box to box play throughout the 90 minutes, he certainly proved to be a thorn in the Joes defense while Sachintha Maduranga gave the telling blows at crucial moments for the hosts.
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Shaminda Perera