Dialog Champions League 2013 Kicks off – Saunders and Ratnam in a stalemate

147

The curtain raiser of the Dialog Champions League 2013 kicked off with arch rivals Saunders SC and Ratnam SC playing out an entertaining goalless draw at the City Football Complex.

Saunders could not repeat their heroics from last week when they beat Ratnam 3-1 to clinch the Phoenix Cup. They were faced with a  much more determined and younger Ratnam players who were impressive throughout the game. With a solid defensive line, Ratnam grew in confidence as the game went on and created goal scoring opportunities but were denied by the custodian of Saunders SC, Asanka Viraj.

The match started with both teams exhibiting their attacking style of play and the lads from Pettah tested the defensive line of the hosts, Ratnam with attacks from either side of the flanks. Ratnam’s goalkeeper looked susceptible to the high ball with Saunders whipping in some fabulous crosses. Ratnam survived the initial test and settled down to create chances of their own. Ratnam’s attacks came from left wing but weren’t able to capitalize with veteran and former Sri Lanka striker E.B Channa looking well beyond his prime.

At half time Saunders brought in former Sri Lanka player, Isuru Uditha Perera who until recently played lower league football in England. His addition breathed new life into the Saunders attacking line with some enticing crosses and corner kicks. With the added energy Saunders created their best chance with lovely linkup play from the middle but Sanoj Sameera’s poor first touch allowed the defense to clear the lines. Ratnam kept attacking and a golden opportunity was offered from a Channa free-kick but a weak shot denied them of a goal. And soon after Sameera was played through on goal but a brilliant tackle from Sanjula Nilan Kalpa denied them of a certain goal. Sanjula, an old boy from St. Joseph’s College played an outstanding game in attack and in defense at right back position.

The game got feisty midway through the second half after a spectator invaded the ground and had an altercation with a Ratnam player and E.B. Channa let his frustrations out on Mohammed Naleer but was fortunate not to receive a yellow card. These incidents brought the silent crowd into full voice and remained the same until the final whistle.   

Saunders SC: Sajith Dharmapala, Asanka Viraj, Isuru Perera, Sanoj Sameera, Dumidu Hettiarachchi, Chathura Samarasekara, Tharanga Kumara, Mohammed Naleer, Chalana Chameera, Indreewa Udara. Subs: Uditha Perera, M.A.I. Mohamed, Vipul Perera, Sudara Madushanka, K.L.Edirisinghe, Mohamed Rimzan, Chanuka Eranga, Cehan Perera, M.A. Ismath.

Ratnam SC: Rizwan Shaib, Balangamage Sivanka, L.Tharusha, Sheen Silveen, Ravindu Lasantha, Sanjula Nilan Kalpa, Tharaka Silva, Robinson Lemandan, E.B.Channa, Sachintha Maduranga, Chathuranga Nadeesh. Subs: Mohamed Ismirley, Fraueis Camilas, Ruwan Wickramasinghe, M. Yogaraja, Shalitha Thilasiri, Nipuna Madushanka, Asanka Rangana, Ranjula Sanjeewa, Romesh Usayasantha.