What a difference a year makes as last year’s finalists in the SLSFA U19 Division I find themselves competing for third place after both teams were knocked out in the semi finals.
ThePapare.com looks at what to expect in this epic rematch.
Maris Stella College v Hameed Al Husseinie College (21st December at 2.00pm at Moragasmulla Grounds)
Both Maris Stella College & Hameed Al Husseinie College looked out of sorts in the semi-finals; where Maris Stella were worn out by the physicality of Holy Cross and Hameedians beaten for pace against St.Joseph’s
Where Things Went Wrong
Holy Cross College 2 – 1 Maris Stella College (Semi-Final)
Maris Stella struggled to cope with the physical play of Holy Cross and found themselves chasing the game very early on in the piece. Despite a late goal from their skipper, they crashed out as the game ended 2-1 in favour of their opponents.
A late surge from Maris Stella in the dying minutes was not enough as Holy Cross managed to hold off defending champions to win 2-1 in the U19 Division I semifinal clash.
St. Joseph’s College 0 (4) – 0 (3) Hameed Al Husseinie College (Semi-Final)
Hameed Al Husseinie simply could not to create enough clear cut opportunities for themselves and were lucky the Josephians were rather wasteful in front goal throughout the 90 minutes. When the game went down to spot kicks, the pressure told and they missed their final 2 kicks to hand victory to St. Joseph’s.
St. Joseph’s College beat Hameed Al Husseinie College in the second semifinal encounter of the U19 Division I Football tournament.
Skipper Anjana Gunawardana will be key for Maris Stella once again, and despite his best efforts in the semi finals which included their consolation goal, he was isolated for most of the game.
He will need more support from his forwards Nisal Tharinda and Thathsara Fernando if they are to secure a win in the consolation final, as they were marked out of the game in the semi final.
Aman Faizer, who plays for Rathnam SC, will need to continue his brilliant distribution from midfield if the Hameedians are to make a match of it, as some of his play in the semi final was simply breathtaking.
The skipper along with midfield partner Mohamed Sajidh will hope they can create more in terms of goal scoring chances for their forwards in the 3rd place playoff, while Mohamed Rishan will be looking to bombard on the wings hoping for much more luck in front of the goal.
Maris Stella overcame Hameed Al Husseinie 2-0 in the final of last year’s SLSFA Division I Championship with former skipper Supun Lahiru scoring both goals to seal the championship for the lads from Negombo. The teams have a lot of new faces this year, and the Hameedians will be keen to avenge last year’s defeat.
Captain Supun Lahiru scored on either side of half time as Maris Stella College defeated Hameed Al Husseinie College 2-0.
What to expect
More often than not the third place playoff will be decided by which team reacts better to the disappointment of not making it to the finals, and this year will be no different.
Both skippers Anjana Gunawardena of Maris Stella and Aman Faiser of Hameed Al Husseinie are inspirational players in midfield and their ability to bring out the best in their team mates will be key in deciding which team takes home the bronze medals.