Reigning Champions Maris Stella College and runners-up Hameed Al Husseinie College are favourites to meet once again, but has the roadblock of Holy Cross College and St.Joseph’s College respectively in the semi-finals, before they do so.
Maris Stella College v Holy Cross College (19th December at 2.00pm at Moragasmulla Grounds)
In the 1st semi-final the only two unbeaten teams go head to head to spoil the other’s unblemished record.
Route to the Knockouts
Maris Stella beat everyone in Group A qualifying for the semis with 18 points. They scored 17 goals and conceded just once, boasting the best defensive record in the division.
v St.Benedict’s College 4 – 0 (won)
v Wickramabahu College 3 – 0 (won)
v St.Joseph’s College 2 – 1 (won)
v Kingswood College 3 – 0 (won)
v St.Sebastian’s College 2 – 0 (won)
v Isipathana College 3 – 0 (won)
Holy Cross on the other hand qualified in second place from Group B with 14 points. Despite only managing draws with Zahira and Royal in the group stages, with other results going their way, a win over Hameed Al Husseinie in their final group game was enough to seal a spot in the semis.
v Royal College 1 – 1 (draw)
v St.Peter’s College 2 – 1 (won)
v Ananda College 6 – 0 (won)
v Zahira College 1 – 1 (draw)
v Lumbini College 2 – 0 (won)
v Hameed Al Husseinie College 2 – 1 (won)
The SLSFA U19 Division I Group A saw reigning champions Maris Stella College stamp their authority at the top while.
Skipper Anjana Gunawardena is the top scorer for Maris Stella with 6 goals and the attacking midfielder is likely going to play a key role in this game along with forwards Thathsara Fernando and Nisal Tharinda.
For Holy Cross it has been skipper Malinda Jayod in goal who has been an inspiration in producing some pretty gritty performances in the group stages. Center-back Shahmi Imthiyas will also be key in keeping the Maris Stella forwards at bay, whilst forward Nirmal Udara will be hoping he can add to his tally of 8 goals.
What to Expect
Maris Stella will go in as favourites with their team built on a very solid defence. Even though they have lost the services of lethal striker Dilip Peiris, Sandeepa Fernando; both of whom represented Sri Lanka U19 and last year’s skipper Supun Lahiru, they have players in the middle of the park who have the ability to dominate the game and their skipper has been inspirational in that regard.
0 – losses and draws
5 – Clean sheets in 6 games (Only 1 goal conceded)
2.83 – Goals per game (17 goals in the group stage)
0.16 – Goals conceded per game
11 – Goals scored away from home (Only 6 at home)
Holy Cross has produced very resolute football against tough opposition in the group stage and to underestimate them would be dangerous. Come the big stage they have shown character and strength and will be fully up for the challenge Maris Stella will pose. The match will likely be a tight clash.
0 – losses (Only 2 draws)
2 – Clean sheets in 6 games (4 goals conceded)
2.33 – Goals per game (14 goals in the group stage)
0.66 – Goals conceded per game
8 – Goals scored away from home (Only 6 at home)
Hameed Al Husseinie College v St. Joseph’s College (19th December at 4.00pm at Moragasmulla Grounds)
In the 2nd semi-final two of the highest goals scoring teams battle it out in what could prove to be an epic encounter.
Route to the Knockouts
Hameed Al Husseinie’s route to the semis was aided by a couple of walkovers, one most notably from Zahira, but they did play some brilliant football in their remaining games. They qualified in top spot from Group B with 15 points.
v St.Peter’s College 1 – 0 (won)
v Ananda College 4 – 0 (won)
v Lumbini College 6 – 1 (won)
v Zahira College 3 – 0 (walkover win)
v Royal College 3 – 0 (walkover win)
v Holy Cross College 1 – 2 (lost)
St.Joseph’s also notched up exactly 15 points in the group stage, but had to be satisfied to qualify in second place after losing 2-1 to Maris Stella. They scored 22 goals along the way to the semis, which is the highest in the division.
v St.Sebastian’s College 4 – 1 (won)
v St.Benedict’s College 2 – 1 (won)
v Kingswood College 2 – 0 (won)
v Maris Stella College 1 – 2 (lost)
v Wickramabahu College 7 – 1 (won)
v Isipathana College 6 – 0 (won)
Hameed Al Husseinie College who were 2nd best to Maris Stella College in the final last year is once again…
Central midfield is where the strength of the Hameedians lies with skipper Aman Faizer and Mohamed Sajith playing key roles in their run so far. Faizer is also their top scorer having scored 5 goals in the campaign. At the back Sri Lanka U19 goalkeeper Mahendran Dinesh will need to be at his best to keep out the high scoring Josephians.
For St. Josephs it has been their forwards who have been in rip roaring form with Sachintha Maduranga netting a division high 9 goals and Asela Madhushan also scoring 6. At the other end of the field though skipper Mayuraka Perera and Amila Dananjaya will have the unenviable task of trying to stifle the Hameedians attacking play.
What to expect
The 2016 All Island Schools Games champions Hameed Al Husseinie College will go in as favourites even though they lost their final group game to Holy Cross College. Having seen how St.Peter’s stifled the Joes midfield in their Big Match, Hameedians will be confident of winning the midfield battle with their experienced duo which would send them in the path to the finals.
1 – loss (0 draws)
4 – Clean sheets in 6 games (3 goals conceded)
3.00 – Goals per game (18 goals in the group stage)
0.50 – Goals conceded per game
12 – Goals scored at home (Only 6 away)
St.Joseph’s will be stinging from the Big Match loss to St.Peter’s where they were favourites after having one of the most successful seasons in the recent past. Having played all three of their home games at the semi-final venue in Moragasmulla (scoring 14 goals) they will be hell bent on making those wrongs right and bring the championship to the Darley Road.
1 – loss (0 draws)
2 – Clean sheets in 6 games (5 goals conceded)
3.66 – Goals per game (22 goals in the group stage)
0.83 – Goals conceded per game
14 – Goals scored at home (Only 8 away)
A game difficult to call with both teams having their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Both teams have shown that they like to play attacking football and score goals and it should make for an entertaining clash.