Java Lane SC edged a 2-1 victory over Saunders SC at Kew Points Road on match-week 14 of the 2017 Dialog Champions League, moving 3 points closer to securing their place in next season’s top division.
Java Lane, 5th from the bottom with 10 points, came into the match needing at least 6 points from their remaining four fixtures to survive in the Champions League. Saunders on the other hand wanted to continue their recent good form to achieve a top 6 position, after a mid-season stumble.
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The hosts kicked off the first half and barely a few minutes in got a good cross into the opposition box but the chance was wasted as the ball was just blazed over the crossbar.
Java Lane, seemingly knowing what it would take to remain in the top division kept on the attack as skipper Rizkhan Faizer found Shafraz Kaiz with a wonderful diagonal ball but was hit right to the keeper who caught the ball comfortably.
Amidst hundreds of Java Lane faithful, Faizer gave the hosts the lead in the 21st minute capitalising on a defender’s error drilling it, past the near post of Asanka Viraj, into the roof of the net from close range.
Minutes later, with the goalkeeper out of position they could have doubled the lead had it not been for Indreewa Udara, who cleared the ball off the line after goal-mouth scramble.
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A brief water break due to the heat saw a shift in the game as Saunders started to play more fluently and soon found themselves on level terms in the 30th minute. Chrishantha Abeysekara, after a wonderful build-up play, scored a brilliant equaliser with a low hard driven shot to the far post.
Half time – Java Lane SC 1 – 1 Saunders SC
Second half kicked off and neither side was content on settling for a draw and were on the attack whenever in possession. That in turn made the match relatively aggressive with a few rough fouls being committed and some players were openly unhappy about some of the decisions.
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Saunders had a free-kick just outside the 30 yard box, where Abeysekara drilled one of his trademark out-step shots towards the right top corner, which needed a brilliant save from Java Lane custodian Sathish Kumar.
Just after the hour mark the Slave Island lads got the fortune they needed. After an Udara effort rebounded off a defender towards the halfway line where center-backs Dumidu Hettiarachchi and Sanjuka Priyadarshana both failed to get to the ball. Mohamed Abdullah making a lung bursting run from deep inside his own half raced forward and slotted it past the on-rushing goalkeeper much to the jubilation of the crowd.
Java Lane had a great chance to bury the game as they pushed forward but when the effort was deflected off the goalkeeper the rebound could only be blasted over the crossbar to the dismay of the bench.
With time running out Udara, from outside the box, controlled the ball and volleyed it goal wards but it went just wide off the post and Sathish Kumar saved a Kasun Jayasuriya shot in a one on one situation.
Full time – Java Lane SC 2 – 1 Saunders SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Rizkhan Faizer (Java Lane SC)
Java Lane – Rizkhan Faizer 21’, Mohamed Abdullah 65’
Saunders – Chrishantha Abeysekara 30’
Java Lane – Tochkwu Francis 62’, Shabeer Razooniya 90+1’
Saunders – Sajith Dharmapala 75’, Kasun Jayasuriya 90+1’