Zahira College, Colombo and Mahajana College, Jaffna played out a pulsating 1-1 draw in a group C match in the ThePapare Football Championship 2018 played at the Janaka Ranawaka Grounds, Moragasmulla.
Boys from Maradana came into the game as favourites with the added advantage of the game being played in Colombo. Mahajana College on the other hand was seen as the dark horses in the group.
Ginthota Zahira College shocked favourites St. Peter’s College, Colombo with a 2-0 win in a group D
Zahira kicked off the game and looked composed on the ball in the early stages of the match. Their match experience showed in passing as the midfield linked well with forwards and defense.
Holding on to possession Zahira College managed to win a free kick just minutes in to the game close to the half way mark. Mohamed Rasheed sent in a delightful ball into the box where an unmarked captain Mohamed Aakib slotted in easily to give the host the advantage.
The hosts grew in confidence and looked threatening with every move. They utilized their wings well as the moves from midfield were sent to the flanks looking for early crosses to the center.
Mohamed Sajid and Mohamed Murshid were excellent in the wings and were beating their marker with ease.
Midway through the half, Aakib took a free-kick near the penalty box which deflected off a Mahajan player and Sanmugaratnam Lakshan was called into a double save.
From this moment on Mahajana College came into the game with more belief and started to threaten.
In the 25th minute left winger Ravikumar Thanujan and Thangarasa Sajeewan worked well and the latter had a shot at goal. Zahira defender blocked and Sajeewan found an unmarked Vijithara Kasto off the rebound who calmly slotted it in to make it 1-1.
From then on it was a ding dong battle and both teams showed excellent ball play. Just before the break Zahira was awarded a penalty for a foul on Murshid. However, Murshid was not able to convert the penalty as Lakshan dove the correct way to save and recovered to deny the rebound as well.
Half Time – Zahira College 1 – 1 Mahajana College
The second half was no different to the first where both teams exchanged blows at each other and the game was flowing and exciting. Both team kept the high tempo of the game.
Zahira looked keener on holding on to possession whereas Mahajana looked to play a counter attacking system.
Despite looking vulnerable at the back Zahira managed to hold off the front three of Mahajana College, Shashikumar Kanujan, Thangarasa Sajeewan and Vijithara Kasto who were fast and looked formidable on attack.
Zahirians kept on pressing for a winner only to be let down by their final pass and finish. Sanmugaratnam Lakshan in the Mahajana goal looked unbeatable as he kept his lines cleared and made saves much like a professional.
Mahajana almost won it in the 77th minute with an effort by Sivasankaran Jamshon which was saved by the Zahira goalkeeper Mohamed Shakir with the help from the crossbar.
The last third of the match was end to end as both teams looked for a winner but it ended 1-1 giving a fair reflection of the match. Mahajana College boys looked more thrilled as Zahira College were the disappointed outfit.
Full Time – Zahira College 1 – 1 Mahajana College
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Sanmugaratnam Lakshan (Mahajana College)
Zahira College – Mohamed Aakib 5’
Mahajana College – Vijithara Kasto 25’