In a one sided affair, Royal College strolled to the 3 points on offer with goals from Kolitha Hansajith, Ashraff Iqbal & Sakun Divyanga against Maliyadeva College in a group stage match in the Kotmale Chox Schools’ U19 Football Championship at the M.H.Mohamed grounds.
Royal kicked off the game at a high intensity with some quick passing play in the middle of the park.
They carved the Kurunegala side open with the first clear cut chance coming in the 7th minute. Sakun Divyanga latched onto a throw-in that bounced over the centre back and charged into the box, only for his effort to be scuppered by the goalkeeper.
Shortly after, Kolitha Hansajith put in a scrumptious ball across the box which was palmed away, but Afridi Hussaine was unable to get power behind his rebound.
Royal finally managed to break through in the 19th minute when Hussaine charged down the left flank and tried to pick out the far post; his effort was rebounded in by Hansajith.
Most of Royal’s play came down the middle and was orchestrated by the skipper, Chathura Avishka. The Sri Lankan youth national was a cut above the rest in the middle of the park, with his eye for a pass and incisiveness playing a key part in unlocking the Maliyadeva defense.
However the Reid Avenue boys showed how much they missed the talismanic Naveen Jude as they just couldn’t get their combinations right with the forwards failing to run spot to some very good passes.
Half time – Royal College 1 – 0 Maliyadeva College
The second half kicked off far slower than the first with both teams settling in under the sweltering heat.
Royal continued their dominance from the first half with the trio of Sithum Vidanagamage, Avishka & Hussaine seeing plenty of the ball. The trio did well in spreading the ball out wide but failed to open up the Maliyadeva defence.
This was until the 53rd minute, where Avishka’s beautifully hoicked ball off a quick free kick reached Divyanga, only for the striker to sky over with only the keeper to beat.
Maliyadeva College lacked the penetration or quality required to get past the wall of blue and gold and had to resort to speculative efforts from distance. The only man who threatened to a degree at least was their diminutive winger, K.Weerasinghe.
Royal slowly opened the flood gates with Divyanga in the thick of things once again but the little striker fired wide from close range again as the striker seemed to be uncharacteristically off-colour.
He did manage to make amends in the 71st minute however, as he played a key role in Royal’s second. Iqbal got the ball off a throw-in from the right flank and found Divyanga who dinked it to Avishka who managed to find Hussaine on the left side of the box. The winger then squared it for Iqbal, who had a simple tap in.
Royal rounded off the win in the 79th minute when Sakun Divyanga managed to slot home from the left side of the box after a driving run put him through on goal.
Full time – Royal College 3 – 0 Maliyadeva College
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Chathura Avishka (Royal College)
Speaking to ThePapare.com Maliyadeva skipper Dushan Karunarathne said;
“Both teams played well in the first half but we lost our way a bit in the second half. This is my last match for school so I’m sad that it ended the way it did.”
“We missed Naveen because he had an injury to deal with. Without him we had to come up with new combinations in the team. That took time so we had a better second half than the first. We look forward to correcting the mistakes and moving forward as we go on,” said Royal skipper Chathura Avishka.