Renown SC scrapped through to 3 points withstanding a furious Moragasmulla SC fight-back in the 2nd half to win 3-2 in the final match of week 3 in the 2017 Dialog Champions League at the Janaka Ranawaka Stadium, Moragasmulla.
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Renown defeated Up Country Lions 4-1 in week 2 while Moragasmulla secured their first point in the Dialog Champions League with a morale boosting 1-1 draw against Matara City at the Matara Football Complex.
Both sides struggled to adapt to the uneven ground conditions for most the first half which resulted in broken down attacks and numerous misplaced passes.
Renown missed out on three free-kicks in good areas with Mohamed Rifnaz and Job Michael sending the ball well over the goal while another one from Michael landed on the roof of the net.
With almost half an hour on the clock Michael gave the visitors the lead. Last season’s highest goal scorer, broke the two-match goalless streak when he cut back in from the left and sent a low ball across Tharindu Rukshan, who had no chance of saving it.
Minutes later Renown were up 2-0 with Traore Mohamed curling in a ball from the edge of the penalty box which Rukshan should have done better to save it.
Three minutes before half time the hosts had the best opportunity when a cut-back from the byline found Pubudu Sakulada inside the box but could only sky the ball wide of the target.
Half time – Moragasmulla SC 0 – 2 Renown SC
The hosts looked a totally different side in the 2nd half attacking the Renown SC goal left, right and center. Their pressure finally paid dividends when Chamara Gunasekara scored an identical goal to what Job Michael scored in the first half.
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Renown had the chance to ease the pressure when substitute Mohamed Mujeeb laid off the ball to Rifnaz inside the box but the skipper sent the wobbling ball over the crossbar.
Former Sri Lanka U19 cap Dilan Madushanka partnered with his brother and skipper Roshan Priyawansha to terrorize the Renown right flank throughout the 2nd half. Madushanka was a treat to watch turning defenders inside out and putting dangerous crosses.
One such chance saw Sakulada make amends for his first half miss with neat header to equalize on the hour mark. With the pressure intensified and the vociferous home fans cheering on, Moragasmulla came close to getting an unprecedented lead but the Renown SC defence held firm.
Against the run of play Renown scored with 13 minutes left on the clock. A ball over the top of the defence saw Michael tussling with two defenders as the ball bounced towards the edge of the box, as he was tumbling down was able to get a toe to it which wrong footed Rukshan, who scrambled back but was helpless as the ball trickled into the goal.
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The freakish nature of the goal took the winds out of the Moragasmulla sails as Renown started to keep possession and eat out the clock till the final whistle.
Full time – Moragasmulla SC 2 – 3 Renown SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Dilan Madushanka
Moragasmulla SC – Chamara Gunasekara 50’, Pubudu Sakulada 60’
Renown SC – Job Michael 28’ & 77’, Traore Mohamed 35’
Moragasmulla SC – S.Samantha 26’
Renown SC – Francis Agbeti 63’