Bright ‘Pele’ Eshun scored a brace for Negombo Youth FC before Defenders FC made a comeback to draw 2-2 in their week 13 fixture of the Dialog Champions League played at the Kelaniya Football Complex.
In a battle of two opposite ends of the points table, Defenders, placed second with 27 points were in the midst of the heated title race. Negombo meanwhile were rock bottom of the points table with just 6 points, in desperate need of a miracle to avoid relegation.
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It was the Negombo lads however who dominated the opening quarter, with the majority of play taking place inside the Defenders’ half.
A free-kick for the Defenders found Niroshan Pathirane on the edge of the 6-yard box where he took a powerful strike at goal. However, a brilliant save by goalkeeper Chinthaka Sujeewa saw the chance denied.
A free-kick at the other end struck by Niluka Janitha flew towards the top corner, but a diving save by Luthfi saw it saved at the expense of a corner. The resulting corner let to another chance, but another save by Luthfi saw Negombo denied.
Negombo struck first blood in the 32nd minute after a powerful over-the-top ball by Prasad into the box. Norbert Chibuzor controlled it with his chest before Bright Eshun, fondly dubbed as ‘Pele’ by his team, smashed it into the back of the net.
Sujeewa brilliantly came to Negombo’s rescue yet again when Issadeen broke through the defense and was 1v1 against Sujeewa and looked destined to score. Sujeewa however had other ideas and pulled off a brilliant save before leaping to grab onto the rebound effort.
Eshun doubled his tally and Negombo’s advantage when in the 37th minute he spotted Luthfi well off his line. Eshun had the presence of mind to calmly lob the ball from the edge of the field over the hurriedly retreating Luthfi into the goal.
Half Time: Defenders FC 0 – 2 Negombo Youth FC
Minutes into the second half, Issadeen pulled one back for Defenders. A good cross into the box left Issadeen with the simple task of tapping it into the goal.
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Niluka created another good chance for Negombo after going on a good run before cutting back inside and taking a strike from the edge of the box. He failed to get much power behind it however, making it an easy save for Luthfi.
The Defenders pulled level in the 80th minute when Madushan De Silva struck a stunning corner kick that curled directly into the far corner of the goal. Defenders built on that momentum and had quite a few chances.
Minutes later another golden opportunity arose when a cross into the box was headed towards goal by Asikoor Rahuman. Sujeewa was up for the task however and pulled off the save to keep his side on level terms.
Tensions were boiling over towards the end of the game, with neither side satisfied to sit back and settle for a draw. Niluka almost retook the lead for Youth when his curling effort from just outside the box went inches over the crossbar, but the game ended 2-2.
Full Time: Defenders FC 2 – 2 Negombo Youth FC
- ThePapare.Com Player of the Match – Bright ‘Pele’ Eshun (Negombo Youth FC)
Defenders FC – Mohamed Issadeen 47’, Madushan De Silva 80’
Negombo Youth FC – Bright Eshun 32’ & 37’
Defenders FC – Asikoor Rahuman 51’
Negombo Youth FC – Shanaka Prasad 55’, Edward Abakah 58’