Expo Lanka defeated LB Finance 1-0 in a hard fought encounter to win the ‘A’ Division Championship in the 2017 Mercantile Football Tournament played at the City Football Complex.
After weathering the LB Finance attacks for much of the game it was a Zarwan Johar breakaway goal in the 2nd half that paved the way for Expo Lanka to defeat the star studded favourites.
Expo Lanka came into the ‘A’ Division Championship decider against LB Finance, needing only a draw after they defeated Sri Lankan Airlines 6-2 while LB Finance could only muster a 4-2 win.
All players from LB Finance were from clubs currently playing in the Champions League while Expo Lanka had only seven from the champion side Colombo FC. LB Finance was represented by players from Renown SC, Bluie Star SC, Super Sun SC and Java Lane SC.
As expected LB Finance dominated play and were camped inside the opposition half. Most of their attacks generated from the right where Mohamed Mujeeb and Mohamed Abdullah operated. Expo Lanka defended admirably apart from a few shots from Mohamed Rizkhan and Shafraz Kaiz flying wide of the target.
Half Time : Expo Lanka 0 – 0 LB Finance
The 2nd half was more of the same as a compact Expo Lanka side frustrated the LB Finance side. Expo Lanka was formed to attack on the counter and they did so with vigor.
Niran Kanishka was on beast mode throughout the 90 minutes running up and down the field harassing the opponents at every given opportunity.
One of those moments earned Expo Lanka a free-kick which led to what proved to be the winner. Skipper Rawme Mohideen quickly took the free-kick and Zarwan Johar slotted the ball under the on rushing Sathish Kumar to spark frenzy.
LB Finance got rare chances which were easily dealt with and on the other end Expo Lanka had two golden chances which Zarwan let slip trying to be a little too clever.
Late in the game LB Finance’s Naveen Jude got through the defence but unfortunately got the ball stuck under his foot as referee Tharanga Pushpakumara blew for full time.
Full Time : Expo Lanka 1 – 0 LB Finance
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Niran Kanishka (Expo Lanka)
Speaking to ThePapare.com the jubilant Head Coach of Expo Lanka Mohamed Roomy had this to say;
“We wanted to play a compact game without giving them room in the middle and use our wings when we had the ball. We wanted to slow their tempo which we did well. We played for a draw given that they (LB Finance) had a strong side. Rawme (Mohideen) and Siraj were brilliant playing at center-back. My Premier League players did their tasks 100%.”
A dejected Mohamed Imran Head Coach of LB Finance added;
”We didn’t have the luck today. We had around 70% ball possession. We had chances but playing against a side which was playing for a draw was hard.”
Expo Lanka – Zarwan Johar 65’