Mahendran Dinesh made two brilliant saves in the penalty shootout to send Police SC into the semi-finals of the Vantage FA Cup 2018 after the game ended 0-0 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
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Police kicked off proceedings amid good conditions with a slight drizzle and a vibrant atmosphere. The first shot came from Police in the 5th minute when a long-range effort from outside the box went just off the upright as Police continued to pressure the Renown defense.
Renown had to make an early change as their captain Mohamed Rizni came out worse from a bad challenge by Nuwantha Charaka.
After the initial onslaught from Police, Renown grew into the game and tried using their wingers Mohamed Arshad and Dilan Madushanka who did send in a couple of crosses which failed to trouble the defense.
With rain increasing both teams went at each other with back and forth attacks and defense only to be deprived by a quality final ball.
Midway through the half, Police came close to opening the scoring with a long-range effort from Chathura Gunaratna only to be headed away by Hakeem Kamil off the goal line.
In the 36th minute police were let off the hook as Arshad got a perfect long ball from the right wing but could not get a telling touch with the goal at his mercy.
Shamil Ahamed, who replaced Rizni, got an opportunity in the center of the box just before the break after a free kick was parried onto his path by Dinesh. Unbalanced Ahamed only managed to hit it over the crossbar.
Half Time – Renown SC 0 – 0 Police SC
At the start of the second half Police were on the front foot and got back to back corners only to head wide on both occasions by unmarked R. Mohamed and Sampath Pathirana.
On the hour mark Dilan Madushanka got a shot away after a good buildup play only to get a deflection which resulted in a corner.
With attacking opportunities few and far between both teams were confined to a midfield battle and were guilty of losing possession frequently. The only attacking play come from set pieces for either team.
Read More: Late goals send Police into quarters
In the 82nd minute Renown came close to snatch a late winner through a free kick taken by Dilip Peiris which hit the crossbar. Dinesh then pulled off a brilliant save off an Arshad header to keep Police in the hunt.
Drama prevailed in injury time as Police and Renown had a goal each disallowed for a foul on the Renown goalkeeper Rasik Rishad and for offside respectively.
Full Time – Renown SC 0 – 0 Police SC
Mahendran Dinesh saved two penalties off Mohamed Sajid and Dilip Peiris whereas Mohamed Arshad hit the crossbar for Renown in their first 3 kicks. Rasik Rishad saved one from Chamika Kumara and then scored from the spot but could not stop Police winning 3-1 through spot kicks from Chathura Gunaratna Nilantha Pathirana and Ishan Danusha.
Penalty Shootout – Renown SC 1 – 3 Police SC
- ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Mahendran Dinesh (Police SC)
Police SC – Nuwantha Charaka 7’
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