Ratnam SC held league leaders Blue Star SC to a goalless draw in their Dialog Champions League 2018, week 11 encounter played at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
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Both teams were left ruing a host of missed opportunities to seal all three points, in a game filled with poor finishing and tough tackling.
The first half proved to be a rather dull affair with chances from open play few and far between for either team. Aman Faizer looked to be the best player on the pitch in the early stages and he forced Manjula Fernando in to a diving save in the very first minute of play.
However, after that opportunity, the chances dried up as both sides struggled to put together passing moves on a dry Sugathadasa pitch.
For Blue Star, center forward Ebuza Chigoze was the liveliest player and had their best opportunity of the half, but a heavy first touch allowed Mohamed Fazreen to smother his attempt when played through on goal.
His opportunities in the final third were limited due to the close attention of Ratnam center back Metehan, and their duel grew in to a fascinating sub plot throughout the game.
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Periyasamy Sithirakumar wasted a golden opportunity for Renown as a cross from Faizer found him unmarked in the six-yard box only for him to steer the ball over the bar.
With half time approaching Mohamed Coulibaly tested Manjula Fernando with a free kick and Aman Faizer blasted a thunderous half volley wide, as Ratnam ended the first half with momentum on their side, but without any advantage to show for it.
Half Time – Ratnam SC 0 – 0 Blue Star SC
Ratnam started the second half where they left off, with Sachintha Madurangana forcing a clearance off the line, following a driving run into the box. Mohamed Akil was the next to test Manjula Fernando, this time with a chipped effort from a well worked short corner – the experienced Blue Star custodian once again upto the challenge.
Fernando then produced a stunning save to deny Sithirakumar from point blank range to keep the score at 0-0 as Blue Star continued to struggle defensively against the Kotahena based outfit.
Sasanka Dilhara Jayasekara and Aman Faizer both had multiple opportunities in the second half to open the scoring but lacked composure when it mattered the most to find the back of the net.
The introduction of E.B. Channa in the second half brought some life into the Blue Star attack and his curling effort from the edge of the box only just evaded the top corner of Fazreen’s goal. He also had a left footed volley saved from a difficult angle by the goalkeeper as Blue Star began to cause problems for the Ratnam defence in the final 20 minutes.
Metehan then produced a fantastic last-ditch tackle to prevent Chigoze from scoring, moments before Channa was sent off for an elbow to the face of a Ratnam player with 7 minutes on the clock.
Ratnam were unable to capitalize on their numerical advantage in the final minutes, as Blue Star hung on for a point to preserve their undefeated streak and their top spot in the Dialog Champions League.
Full Time – Ratnam SC 0 – 0 Blue Star SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Manjula Fernando (Blue Star SC)
Ratnam SC – Haseem Abdullah, Aman Faizer
Blue Star SC – S.M. Kumara, B.C. Sampath
Blue Star SC – E.B. Channa