Army kicked off proceedings on the front foot as they managed to rattle the holders during the early exchanges. While creating chance after chance the only piece which the soldiers lacked in their puzzle was the end product.
Nevertheless, it only took them 19 minutes to find a breakthrough as a moment of brilliance from Sajith Kumara off a short corner gave them what would prove to be the winner. The winger took the ball on his left and unleashed an absolute pearler to the far top corner leaving Mohamed Imran stranded.
Army wanted to seize onto the opening as Colombo were left shell-shocked after the early set back.
Photo Album – Colombo FC vs Army SC – FA Cup Semi Final 1
However, in attempting to do so they lost this highest goal scorer in Mohamed Issadeen as he pulled a hamstring while galloping forward during a counter attack.
Much to the surprise of many, his absence did not seem to halt the Army onslaught, as the soldiers continued having their merry way leaving the Colombo FC defense in tatters.
Bodrie Dimitri and AC Frank who have led the attack for Colombo throughout this year’s competition were mere spectators during the first half failing to leave their mark on proceedings.
Army left the holders with a lot to ponder upon as the half drew to a close, on the flip side though Army had to regroup both mentally and tactically as they lost their talisman up front in Issadeen.
Colombo FC made their intentions clear as they brought on Zarwan Johar up front replacing Frank, who hardly seemed to make an impact.
Having to come back into the game, Colombo started the second half shifting up a few gears in the second half. Regardless, the Army defense was resolute enough to keep Dimitri and co out with the momentum shifting towards to the defending champions.
Army had to be content with a few counter attacks in which they hardly seem to trouble to Colombo defense which seemed to have settled into the game as they would have expected to do in the first half.
Although Colombo managed to boss proceedings the vital stat was against them as they couldn’t manage to break the Army defense which hung in there. Army on the other hand squandered an excellent opportunity to put the game to bed as Neranjan Rajapaksha missed a goal from point blank range after an excellent ball from the right by goal scorer Kumara which beat both goalkeeper and defender.
Colombo’s offensive woes continued as fatigue and frustration kicked into their game, resulting in them being unable to keep the ball on their feet to make something out of the possession. As yet another disappointing corner was dealt with by the Army defense, the referee blew the final whistle much to the delight of the Army team and support staff.
In the post-match interview, the Army SC coach Mohamed Fawmy expressed his delight as he felt that Army managed to finally get over last year’s result of losing to Colombo FC as much as he relished the opportunity of the FA Cup final up ahead. Speaking about their charismatic striker’s injury, he was hopeful regarding the fact that Issadeen will manage to recover in time for the big final.
“We had the worst first half and the heat did not help either. After their goal we livened up and even in the second half we played like a force team with energy but unfortunately couldn’t get that vital goal,” a dejected Colombo FC coach Mohamed Roomy added after the match.
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Sajith Kumara