Defenders FC bounced back in style to win 3-0 against Saunders SC in the Dialog Champions League 2018, week 8 fixture played at Sugathadasa Stadium.
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Saunders SC were hosted by Defenders FC a month after the epic FA Cup final. This time round in the league where Saunders SC sporting an unfamiliar blue kit are in the relegation battle and the Defenders in 5th position after a surprise 5-0 loss to Red Stars in mid-week.
Defenders got the opening opportunity in the 5th minute from a corner when Kasun Pradeep headed powerfully straight at Asanka Viraj. The rebound fell to Chathuranga Perera who scuffed his shot wide.
Saunders came close when Mohamed Luthfi was called on to save a Chamod Dilshan volley after the initial corner was cleared away. Luthfi diving to his right got the required punch.
Immediately after Kasun Pradeep once again was the culprit when an open header did not connect off a brilliant cross from Chathuranga Perera. In the 18th minute Defenders worked a short corner and Madushan de Silva sent in a scrumptious ball in to the box. Kasun Pradeep beating the off-side trap flicked home the opener.
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In the 33rd minute Kasun Jayasuriya attempted an acrobatic volley in front of goal from a cross from Indreewa Udara. Jayasuriya was unable to keep his shot low as it sailed over the cross bar. Better option would have been to head as he was unmarked inside the penalty area.
Asanka Viraj kept Saunders in the game just before the break when Mohamed Issadeen was away and his shot to the near post was palmed away for a corner. The resulting corner was once again worked off quickly and Madushan sent in another brilliant cross. Asikur Rahuman leaping high headed which hit the upright.
Saunders were living dangerously as Issadeen once again scuffed a shot from point blank range after a good run and cross from Kasun Pradeep. Defenders missed out on three opportunities to increase there lead as referee blew for the break.
Half Time – Defenders FC 1 – 0 Saunders SC
Kamaleswaran Kajanthan doubled the lead with a through ball from Asikur Rahuman found him free on goal as the Saunders defenders stepped up to trap for off-side which inevitably failed. Kajanthan slid the ball through the onrushing Asanka Viraj.
On the hour mark, against the run of play Chamod Dilshan came close for Saunders to score when his looping header hit the crossbar from a free kick inside the Defenders half.
The game became a stop start affair as Saunders players went on hard in to tackles leaving the Defenders players needing constant treatment. However, it was the Defenders players who got into the books of the referee for notable infringements.
Asikur Rahuman could have wrapped up the game when he worked a move brilliantly along with Madushan de Silva found free on goal. As he went for power he lost the precision and the ball swerved away from goal.
Final 10 minutes of the game was frantic as Saunders chased the game and Defenders looked to consolidate possession. Mohamed Luthfi called on to make crucial saves from Indreewa Udara and Mohamed Kurshid from distance.
With Saunders pushing players forward Defenders got space in the back and managed to wrap up proceedings when Kasun Pradeep netted home the rebound from Asanka Viraj. The initial shot coming in from Jesuraj Bernard as he beat his marker easily.
Just before the long whistle Mohamed Issadeen and Chanuka Eranga got into a scuffle. Both players were sent off after consultation with the linesman.
Full Time – Defenders FC 3 – 0 Saunders SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Kasun Pradeep (Defenders FC)
Defenders FC – Kasun Pradeep 18’ & 90’, Kamaleswaran Kajanthan 52’
Defenders FC – Jeewantha Fernando 52’, Lakshitha Jayathunga 68’, Asikur Rahman 70’, Tharindu Lakmal 84’
Saunders SC – Chanuka Eranga 75’
Defenders FC – Mohamed Issadeen 90+2’
Saunders SC – Chanuka Eranga 90+2’