Police SC denied Serendib FC, Mawanella of a second half come back to win 2-1 in the final of the Premier League Division I 2018, played at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
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Police and Serendib had already qualified for the 2019 Dialog Champions League by reaching the final of the Division I.
Police got the perfect start in the 2nd minute of the game when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Rifkhan Mohamed, in the first attack of the evening. With ample experience, Chathura Gunarathna slotted home calmly to give the lead to Police.
The tempo of the game at the start was brilliant and aided accordingly by the wet outfield as both teams looked to attack with every move. The conditions better suited the Cops’ game as they looked for slick passes and to move up the field with pace.
Riyaz Ahamed, a product from Mawanella, then headed brilliantly to the near post off a corner from Sampath Pathirana to increase the lead for Police. With a two-goal advantage Police looked strong on possession as Serendib were made to chase the game.
Serendib had flashes of brilliance through Evans Asante and Mohamed Sheron. However, they couldn’t get the final pass or shoot to trouble Mahendran Dinesh who guarded the Police net. Although they finished the half goalless, Serendib was the better team in the closing stages of the first half.
Just before the break Ahamed could have put the game to bed after a diagonal ball towards the goal was misread by keeper Yugadeswaran Amalraj, sending it directly to the unmarked Ahamed who could only find the side netting from close range.
Half Time – Police SC 2 – 0 Serendib FC
At the start of the second half both teams took a measured approach. Serendib in their first attacking move of the half, got Mahendran Dinesh to pull off a brilliant save from a looping header by Asante Evans. The game from then on kicked off once again with pace.
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Riyaz Ahamed looked lively in the second half just as he was in the first. Serendib then got a life line when Evans was brought down inside the box and referee rightly awarded a spot kick. Evans slotted comfortably to bring a goal back. Serendib went on the ascendancy with the crowd getting into the game.
The game turned on its head as Police started playing a more defensive game with Serendib pushing for an equalizer. Police on the other hand did not have the precision in passing in the final third which let them down when it mattered.
The game was end-to-end in the final 20 minutes as Police looked as if they found a sixth gear. Serendib on the other hand did not bow away and fought hard for every ball and every inch of space.
Mohamed Sheron, then missed a sitter in the mouth of the goal after some hard work done by Evans. Unmarked inside the six-yard mark, Sheron sent it over the crossbar.
With the opportunity gone begging, Serendib lost a man for a second bookable offense. Hemantha Bandaragoda got his marching orders for a second yellow card with 10 minutes left to play.
Despite a man down Serendib had to go in search of the equalizer to send the game to spot kicks and they indeed did so making the final minutes of the game a thrilling affair, but to no avail.
Full Time – Police SC 2 – 1 Serendib FC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Asante Evans (Serendib FC)
- Individual Awards
Golden Boot (Highest Goal Scorer of Super Six Round) – Mohamed Anas (New Star SC)
Golden Glove Award (Best Goalkeeper of the Final) – Mahendran Dinesh (Police SC)
Golden Ball Award (Best Player of the Final) – M.J.R. Mohamed (Police SC)
Police SC – Chathura Gunarathna 2’, Riyaz Ahamed 19’
Serendib FC – Evans Asante 54’
Police SC – Sampath Pathirana 56’
Serendib FC – Hemantha Bandaragoda 24’
Serendib FC – Hemantha Bandaragoda 80’
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