Sasanka hat-trick inspires Ratnam comeback win

Dialog Champions League 2018

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19-year old Sasanka Dilhara Jayasekara scored an excellent hat-trick to guide Ratnam SC to a 4-2 win over Negombo Youth FC in the week 10 fixture of the Dialog Champions League 2018 played at the Kelaniya Football Complex.

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Negombo Youth came into the game occupying the second relegation spot in 17th with 6 points, needing a win to get out of the relegation zone. Ratnam meanwhile, coming off a bad series of results, were in 7th with 14 points.

Ratnam started the game with good attacking intent and it paid off when they struck first blood early in the 3rd minute. A lofted pass into the box by Aman Faizer found Mohamed Akil, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

Negombo got the opportunity to get back on level terms when a good strike by Shanaka Prasad curled towards the corner of the goal. However goalkeeper Mohamed Fazreen reacted quickly to make the save.

Negombo equalized in the 25th minute when Ndedigwe Norbert Chibuzor took a strike on the 15-yard box line, but it was blocked off by the defenders shoulder. The Ratnam defence seemingly distracted by Negombo fans and players screams for a penalty due to handball, allowed Ravindu Rishan to rush in and smash in the rebound.

Negombo built on their momentum when in the 31st minute, they took the lead. Bright Eshun’s initial effort was saved by Fazreen. However the Ratnam defence failed to clear the ball, allowing Eshun t0 t0e-poke the rebound into the back of the net.

Poor defensive work by Ratnam almost saw them concede another when a series of headed passes inside the Ratnam box saw Chibuzor go for a bicycle kick, but failed to direct it on target.

Half Time: Negombo Youth FC 2 – 1 Ratnam SC

The 52nd minute saw Sujeewa make a brilliant save off a close range header by Periyasamy Sithirakumar. Sujeewa’s defence let him down however as Sasanka Jayasekara was allowed to hammer in the rebound.

There was then two efforts on both sides with Eshun taking a shot from inside the box that required a good save by Fazreen, the rebound was skied over the bar. Ratnam then launched a fast paced counter-attack that led to a cross into the box that Sithirakumar headed over the crossbar from close range.

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Ratnam showed good prowess on the counter and retook the lead in the 59th minute. Sasanka dribbled past a couple of defenders before his strike from the edge of the box could not be kept out despite Sujeewa getting a touch to it.

Aman then had two clear-cut opportunities, but both were well saved by Sujeewa to keep the Negombo boys in the game.

Ratnam doubled their advantage when a good cross found Sasanka on the edge of the box. He struck the shot powerfully on the volley, giving Sujeewa no chance as it flew into the back of the net. That goal completed a well-deserved hat-trick for the young Sasanka Jayasekara.

Sithirakumar had the golden opportunity to add another goal when Aman found him inside the 15-yard box with a cut back pass. Sithirakumar failed to keep his shot below the crossbar however.

Negombo’s skipper Dulaj Peries put his team’s problems from bad to worse after elbowing a Ratnam player after they went down following a sliding tackle. The referee showed Peries a straight red card, reducing Negombo to 10 men.

Full Time: Negombo Youth FC 2 – 4 Ratnam SC

ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Sasanka Dilhara Jayasekara (Ratnam SC)

Goal Scorers

Negombo Youth FC – Ravindu Rishan 25’, Bright Eshun 31’

Ratnam SC – Mohamed Akil 03’, Dilhara Jayasekara 52’, 59’ & 73’

Bookings

Yellow Cards

Negombo Youth FC – Thushan Dammika 89’

Ratnam SC – Mohamed Nuskan 50’

Red Cards

Negombo Youth FC – Dulaj Peries 88’

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