In a rather one sided game, Maris Stella College put 4 goals past St. Benedict’s College in their first encounter of the Schools’ U19 Division I Championship match held at St. Benedict’s College Grounds.
In slightly windy conditions, it was the home team, who were the first to settle down and level some attacks with their number 10, Shenal Kavinda putting up a good display of football.
But the tables turned in favour of Maris Stella College when a long range shot by Thathsara Fernando, presumably aided by the wind, found its way into the back of the net giving the visitors the lead in the 10th minute.
Maris Stella, heartened by the early lead, began to establish complete dominance of the game thereon. Although their game was not far above that of St. Benedict’s, they had the bigger share of the possession and more attempts on goal.
The hosts’ goalkeeper, Ashan Sanjaya pulled off a few brilliant saves to limit the score, the most impressive one being when an Anjana Gunawardena shot from the edge of the penalty box came thundering towards the goal.
A tactical alteration was brought about by the Maristonian coach by switching striker Isuru Fernando with midfielder Anjana, enhancing the visitors attack as Anjana began to wreak havoc in the Benedictine defence with his ankle-breaking dribbling and powerful shots.
Near the end of the first half the Benedictine game began to visibly break down with silly missed passes, lack of communication and no combination between the players. This paved the way for the visitors to double their lead.
A nice through ball by Isuru between two Benedictine defenders found Nisal Tharinda who crossed it to the waiting Chathura Buwaneka who tapped it into the goal as the visitors went into half time with a 2 – 0 lead.
Half time – St.Benedict’s College 0 – 2 Maris Stella College
As the second half began St.Benedict’s did not seem to be making any comeback in response to the visitors lead as their broken game prevailed. It was perhaps because they were disheartened with having to trail behind.
Maristonian skipper Anjana also put up his name in the scorecard in the 44th minute (bear in mind each half was played only for 40 minutes) after the ball which was dancing inside the Benedictine penalty box came to his feet and he made no mistake in side tapping it into the top left corner.
An incomplete punch by the hosts’ keeper Ashan who came out of the goal for the crossed ball was collected by Chathura. The keeper was forced to go out of his territory blocking Chathura’s angle but Chathura managed to get away enough to cross the ball over to Nisal whose header was way off target. Had it made into the keeperless goal it would have been a brilliant goal indeed.
Shenal made an impressive run at goal dribbling through the Maristonian defence but was quite unlucky as his attempt on goal slipped past the left post much to the disappointment of the hosts.
St. Benedict’s missed out on another opportunity for a goal when Alvin Pillai was presented with the ball and an open goal. Pillai’s not so confident volley went completely off target ending the hosts’ chances of making a comeback.
In the 74th minute Isuru intercepted a pass from Benedictine center back and Captain Thiwanka Navod to his teammate Shodarshan Raj and took a shot at goal from the edge of the penalty box. The diving keeper Ashan could not save it as it bounced off his hands into the goal giving Maris Stella a comprehensive 4 – 0 victory over St. Benedict’s.
Full time – St. Benedict’s College 0 – 4 Maris Stella College
ThePapare.com Man of the Match – Anjana Gunawardena (Maris Stella College)
Maris Stella – Thathsara Fernando 10’, Chathura Buwaneka 40’, Anjana Gunawardena 44’, Isuru Fernando 74’