Saunders SC were made to sweat Eveready SC but eased into a 6-2 win in the latter stages in the Vantage FA Cup Round of 16 encounter at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
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Saunders, the 15 times champions, indeed lived up to their tag of favourites as they made their intentions clear from the start when they created a few chances in the opening minutes but was wasted due to poor finishing.
Eveready got their first chance of the game through a corner kick which was struck well but it was headed just over the crossbar.
A goal seemed imminent as Saunders kept knocking on Eveready’s door and unsurprisingly not too soon later, Suntharaj Niresh broke through the defense and took a strike from the edge of the box. Unfortunately for Saunders it struck the upright and skidded across the face of goal before going out.
Saunders continued their domination when Chryshantha Abeysekara and Kasun Jayasuriya linked up brilliantly before Abeysekara hammered the ball into back of the net to open the scoring for Saunders.
Straight from the re-start, K.P. Dilushan was taken down inside the Saunders box with the referee pointing straight to the spot. Skipper Ramesh Kumara took responsibility and despite Salitha Thilaksiri diving the right way, it found the bottom corner equalizing the game.
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Niresh went onto create numerous chances, but unfortunately for him it always just wide or well saved by Shehan. In the dying moments of the half Jayasuriya was taken down inside the Eveready box and Niresh converted the resulting penalty past a rooted Shehan Selvaraja.
Half Time – Saunders SC 2 – 1 Eveready SC
Saunders continued on the front foot when Jayasuriya blasted a strike from outside the box which gave Selvaraja no chance as it found the back of the net extending the advantage. Sampath Lakshan broke through the Saunders defense, but his shot was weak which made it an easy save for Thilaksiri.
Saunders added to their tally yet again through Jayasuriya when he leapt and successfully headed in a cross past a diving Selvaraja. Eveready were however once again handed a lifeline when Vishagan Somalingakumar was cut down inside the Saunders box and they won another penalty. Kumara stepped up yet again and once again did well to slot it into the bottom corner.
Substitute Sanoj Sameera hammered the nail into the Eveready coffin when he scored with a bullet strike from outside the box. Eveready switched off in the final few minutes as Jayasuriya, with the final kick of the game, scored a well-deserved hat-trick when from a very tight angle he beat the two defenders on the line.
Full Time – Saunders SC 6 – 2 Eveready SC
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Kasun Jayasuriya (Saunders SC)
Saunders SC – Chryshantha Abeysekara 26’, Suntharaj Niresh 45+1’, Kasun Jayasuriya 47’, 74’ & 90+2’
Eveready SC – Ramesh Kumara 28’(P) & 78’(P)
Saunders SC – Mohamed Naleem 61’
Eveready SC – Shehan Selvaraja 33’
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