In an unwavering defensive effort, Wesley College kept a star studded Zahira College at bay in normal time and extra time to become champions, 3-2 on penalties in the 12th Zahira Super 16 Soccer 7’s Cup final after it ended goalless in extra time.
The penalty shootout of the Cup championship final saw the boys from Karlshrue Gardens putting in all 3 of their shots with ease while the hosts had to be content with only 2 out of 3 as Shafran Sathar’s penalty bounced off the crossbar.
Wesley College sensing that the Zahirians would be too hot to handle pulled up a brilliant defensive strategy throughout the match which was good enough to keep the all attacking Zahira College at bay and push in to the penalty shootout where they would be able to fight on even grounds.
The entire match saw Zahirian dominance in attack with many opportunities falling upon Shafran, Farood Faiz and Mohamed Aakib but luck was not on their side as all attempts were either miraculously blocked by the defence and goalkeeper Mohamed Nifras or were too far off the goal.
Wesley too had one golden opportunity when Shaheel was caught out of position, but the Wesley player went for glory himself with a long range effort in a two on one situation.
Mohamed Shaheel was the pick of the Zahira players, playing from defence and unleashing pile-drivers at the Wesley goal, whenever given the opportunity. Goal-keeper Nifras made three brilliant saves while also keeping out Shafan from point blank range helping Wesley stay in the game.
The hosts were disappointed for the second year running, with last year’s loss to Maris Stella, as Wesley College became the Cup Champions of the 12th Zahira Super 16 Soccer 7’s for the first time in history, after they too endured heartbreak in the inaugural final against Zahira.
The final match was surprisingly sent in to extra-time after the match ended at 0-0 at full time whereas all other drawn matches went into a penalty shootout.
The coach of Wesley College Asif Ansar provided his thoughts on the matter to ThePapare.com;
“The organizers said that extra time was included in the rules list they sent us. But the referee did not inform us of this until half time rather than at the beginning. We were very confused and had to make hasty adjustments to our tactical plan. It is ok we won in the end. But I strongly advise the referees not to do this again. It is not the fault of the organizers rather the referees.”
The coach of Zahira College, Mohamed Roomy also spoke to ThePapare.com;
“7-a-side matches are unpredictable. Anything can happen at any time. We played our A game but luck was not on our side. To win a 7-a-side match you should have luck.”
Commenting on the half time discussion with the referees,
“Yes, there was a discussion between me and the referees at half time because first they informed us that the match will have two 10 minute halves. But they changed it halfway into 7-1-7 minutes and two extra time halves of 3 minutes in case of a draw.”
Most Valuable Player – Shafran Sathar (Zahira College, Colombo)
Man of the Final – Mohamed Shaheel (Zahira College, Colombo)
Best Goal Keeper – Mohamed Nifras (Wesley College, Colombo)
Wesley College v Trinity College (Cup Semi Final)
The 1st semi-final ended in a goalless draw and in the penalty shootout that followed Wesley put in 3 out of 3 while Trinity only managed 1 as they failed to convert their first and last kicks.
Wesley College came in as the Runners-up of Group B where they drew against St.Peter’s Colombo and Manipay Hindu College and managed a win against St.Mary’s Kegalle. They defeated Royal College in the 4th quarter-final in another penalty shootout which ended at 2-0.
Trinity College, Runners-up of Group C defeated Hindu College Colombo, drew against De Mazenod Kandana and lost to Zahira College.
After a tie breaker penalty shootout, to determine group runners-up, they overcame De Mazenod, were able to defeat Zahira College, Gampola in another penalty shootout which ended 2-0 in the 1st quarter final.
Zahira College v Manipay Hindu College (Cup Semi Final)
The hosts comprehensively defeated the Jaffna boys in the 2nd semi-final where Shafran Sathar scored 2 goals to secure victory.
Zahira College came in as champions of Group C where they defeated De Mazenod, Trinity and Hindu Colleges and in the 3rd quarter-final overcame St.Joseph’s Colombo with a score of 1-0.
Manipay Hindu College champions of Group B managed to defeat both St.Peter’s Colombo and St.Mary’s Kegalle and drew against Wesley College. They defeated Al-Adhan College, Badulla in the 2nd quarter-final with a score of 4-0.
Trinity College v Manipay Hindu College (3rd Place)
Manipay Hindu College defeated the Kandy boys with a score of 2-0 to secure the 3rd place of the 12th Zahira Super 16 Soccer 7’s.
Royal College v St.Joseph’s College (Plate Final)
Last year’s finalists Royal defeated St.Joseph’s 2-1 on penalties to win the Plate Championship after it ended 0-0 at full time.
Maris Stella College v Isipathana College (Shield Final)
2015 champions, Maris Stella College had a disappointing campaign as they had to settle for the Shield Championship with a 1-0 win against Isipathana College.
St.Benedict’s College v St.Peter’s College (Bowl Final)
St.Benedict’s College defeated St.Peter’s College 3-1 on penalties to grab the Bowl Championship.
Fair Play Team – Trinity College, Kandy
Zahira Super 16 Soccer 7’s – 2016 Match Results