St. Henry’s College, Ilavalai beat St.Xavier’s College, Mannar 3-0 in the U20 final in-front of a packed house in the Northern Provincial Inter School Sports Festival played at St.John’s College grounds, Jaffna.
In the semifinal, St.Henry’s College beat Mannar Murungan Vidyalayam by a goal to nil. Similarly, St.Xavier’s College defeated Point Pedro Hartley College by two goals to nil. Both teams were regarded as two hot favourites from the start of the tournament and the final was expected to be fantastic thus a large number of spectators gathered around the stadium.
The game was very slow in the early minutes with the teams showing a healthy respect for the opponents and being very sloppy in their passes. The crowd’s expectations seemed to have got to the players as there was some untidy football on display.
St. Henry’s College won a penalty following a deliberate hand ball offence being notified by the referee inside the opponent’s box. Striker Amalathas Madushan converted the opportunity and put his team in front.
The game picked its pace after the goal. However, the day was written in the stars for Madushan as he again smashed a thunderbolt long range strike into the net. Easily a contender for the goal of the tournament award, that stunning goal made the opponents’ lives difficult.
St. Xavier’s College increased their intensity and made efforts to push the ball in and find spaces but their efforts had all been well recognized and covered by St.Henry’s players. The first half came to an end at 2-0.
Half time – St.Henry’s College 2 – 0 St.Xavier’s College
The school from Mannar showed great determination to fight back in the second half. They worked from all areas to have their first goal but all their efforts were not rewarded. Setting themselves on the counter, St. Henry’s College players waited for the perfect opportunity to run at their opposition.
St.Henry’s found space during an intense Xavier attack, worked the ball quickly and Antony Raj converted the third goal for them.
With 3-0, the game solely came into St. Henry College’s dominance. They kept their clean sheet until full time. St.Henry’s College was crowned as U20 champions of Northern Province. This was their first championship after Kotmale trophy in 2015.
Full time – St.Henry’s College 3 – 0 St.Xavier’s College
3rd Place Match
Mannar Murungan Vidyalayam and Point Pedro Hartley College played for the 2nd runners up trophy. This was a game of two halves. Murungan started the game very strong and immediately scored two goals. Shocked at their vulnerability, Hartley didn’t have any response in the first half.
Murungan again scored very early in the second half to make it 3-0 and would have thought that they put the match beyond the reach of Hartley. However, Thatheesan scored the first goal for Hartley and there was still hope in the air. Hartley suddenly improved their overall play and Uhayashanth scored two superb goals in successive attempts within a quick period. At the end of full time, the scorecard read 3-3. The referee opted to direct the game towards penalty shootout.
Mannar Murungan Vidyalayam held their nerves in the vital penalty shootout and won it by a whisker of 5-4 margin. They were awarded the third place in the U20 category.