Zahira College had to work hard to come out on top with a narrow 1-0 victory over Royal College in the 2018 U18 Division I Schools’ Football Championship at the Royal College Grounds.
The match pitted Royal College Head Coach Mohamed Roomy against his former school for the first time since he took over back in February 2018.
Royal College has completed the signing of Mohamed Roomy..
Zahira College got a golden chance in the first minute when the ball was cut back to Mohamed Sajid who was well positioned inside the opposition box but his shot was well off the mark.
The visitors soon followed that with another chance when a corner struck well into the box found Mohamed Akthar who tried to tap it in from close range but ended up overpowering it off target.
Royal’s skipper Tishan Prabudda lead from the front as he gave Royal their two best chances of the first half, both through free-kicks and both from similar range from just inside the opposition half. The two efforts however brilliant were just inches over the crossbar.
Royal seemed to have recovered under the continuous commands and advice being yelled out by Roomy from the sideline, as play evened out towards the middle of the first half.
Royal almost shot themselves in the foot when attempting to clear the ball as it headed straight for an own goal, but goalkeeper Balakrishnan was alert to the danger to make a good save.
Balakrishnan was called upon on a number of occasions to save his team in the remainder of the first half, most notably when Sajid got a brilliant chance on the edge of box but his effort produced a brilliant reflex save. This was followed by another good save as he went down quick off a close-range effort.
Zahira eventually capitalized on their many chances when a corner struck into the box led to a goal mouth scramble where after a good save from Balakrishnan the rebound was blasted into the back of the net by Mohamed Sajid.
Half Time – Royal College 0 – 1 Zahira College
Zahira came very close to doubling their lead early in the second half, but Mohamed Zaidh’s effort was not struck with proper power and Balakrishnan pulled off an absolutely stunning save to deny Zahira once again.
Prabudda took another freekick from range and the curling effort was saved by the Zahira goalkeeper.
Things went from bad to worse for Royal when Mohamed Sajidh who had already been booked just 3 minutes prior, went in for an unnecessary tackle just outside his own box and was shown a second yellow and was sent off, leaving Royal with just 10 men and still a goal down.
Zahira took a brilliantly planned set piece free-kick from that foul, but the effort was well blocked by the Royal defense before hurriedly being cleared away.
Royal despite being a man down soon after broke on the counter and came close to equalizing, but the final touch was once again poor and the chance was wasted.
Full Time – Royal College 0 – 1 Zahira College
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – B. Balakrishnan (Royal College)
Royal College Head Coach Mohamed Roomy speaking exclusively with ThePapare.com;
“I know their talent because last year I guided them to the U17 All Island Championship. I’ve groomed these players for the last 3 years. So, I knew what to try and stop. I knew what was lacking and we had a plan, but we missed our chances. It was a good match today.”
Zahira College – Mohamed Sajid 38’
Royal College – Mohamed Ammar 35’, Mohamed Sajidh 77’ & 80’
Royal College – Mohamed Sajidh 80’