Penalty delight for Renown seals FA Cup final spot

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Traditional rivals Renown SC and Saunders SC had to be separated by penalties when the two teams went head to head in the second semi final of the 2016 FA Cup played at the Racecourse Stadium, with Renown eventually triumphing 4-2 on spot kicks after the game finished scoreless.

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Saunders got off to the better start with captain Sanoj Sameera pulling the strings in midfield to ensure his team had the giant share of possession. Despite this both teams struggled to create many chances in the first half but Saunders forward Krishantha Abeysekera hit the crossbar from outside the box and Traore Mohammed constantly created chaos and goalmouth pressure for Saunders in the first half.

A key turning point in the game occurred right at the end of the first half when Saunders was forced into making a substitution due to an injury to defender Dumindu Hettiarachchi.

Saunders pushed Sanoj Sameera into defense to replace Hettiarachchi with no out and out defenders on the bench, which allowed the Renown midfield to slowly but surely work their way into the game in the second half.

Renown who had to make changes of their own brought on Frank Ochuko and Shamil Ahmed for the second half and both proved to be lively outlets in their hunt for the winner.

Photo Album – Renown SC vs Saunders SC – FA Cup Semi Final 2

Saunders goalkeeper Razik Rishad had to make a top drawer save early on in the second half from a corner kick that was headed towards goal by Fazul Rahuman. The Sri Lanka U19 goalkeeper then continued to make brilliant saves from attempts from the boots of Francis Agbeti, Shamil Ahmed and Mohamed Rifnaz to keep the score at 0-0.

In possibly the move of the match, Renown right back Dimuthu Priyadarshana and Mohamed Fazal exchanged a classy one-two pass so that the former could put in a great first time cross into the path of forward Job Michael late on in the game. Unfortunately, the forward dallied on the ball a fraction longer than necessary allowing captain Sameera the chance to put in a last ditch challenge and negate the threat.

The final 10 minutes produced no significant chances as both teams braced themselves for a penalty shootout.

Renown despite missing the first penalty from Fazal, eventually triumphed 4-2 in the shootout courtesy of goals from Fazul, Francis, Mohamed Humaid and Rifnaz with Mohamed Uzman, who had a below par game in the 90 minutes, making a decisive save from school day teammate Mohamed Shaheel.

They will now go on to face Army in the final scheduled to be played on the 11th of June.

ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Razik Rishad (Saunders SC)

Speaking to the coaches after the game they had this to say.

Coach Sumith Walpola of Saunders: “The absence of Ruwantillake due to a personal matter really cost us, as when we had to shift Sanoj to defense in the second half, it really cost us offensively. We did practice penalties but under pressure sometimes even the best of players are afraid to take kicks. Overall I am happy about our performance in the tournament, we played some good football.”

Coach Mohammed Amanullah of Renown:Credit to the boys as for two weeks we couldn’t practice and we struggled to get into the game in the first half with the wet conditions but we were much better in the second half. We don’t usually practice penalties I usually ask them who likes to take them when the situation arises. I think it will be a tough game against Army but we play good football but hopefully we can play a good game and win the trophy.”