Solid SC stunned Air Force with two back to back goals early in the second half to win 2-1 in the FA Cup Pre-Quarter Final match at the Air Force Camp, Ekala.
Air Force came into the pre-quarter final surviving a penalty shootout while Solid SC thumped Kirulapone United 5-0 in theirs.
The Air-men were playing their inaugural match at the newly built, picturesque football ground at the Air Force Camp in Ekala and dominated from the word go.
Solid failed to settle down against the strong wind blowing across the ground as Air Force created opportunity after opportunity with Kavindu Ishan at the center of attraction.
A poor clearance from Solid’s centre-back Amith Kumara let Ishan through on goal and he in-turn fed Nipuna Bandara inside the box but the back-tracking Afis Olayemi put in a timely tackle to deny the hosts.
Soon after, a raking ball over the defense from Bandara found Ishan’s feet; he stormed into the box and calmly slotted it in past the on rushing goalkeeper, Dilshan Tharindu to take the lead in the 11th minute.
The Solid SC forwards were starved of the ball with Air Force dominating play in midfield which led to the visitor’s forwards dropping back as the game went on at a hectic pace.
Towards the end of the first half Solid SC got back into the game with two dangerous free-kicks from Olayemi troubling the defense but not good enough to bag a goal.
The game turned on its head from the start of the second half as Olayemi released Thakshila Danoj into the box from a through-ball but the effort from Danoj was saved for a corner by Prabath Arunasiri.
From the resulting corner by Olayemi, Edison Figurado rose the highest to flick the ball to the far post for the equalizer in the 48th minute.
Two minutes later the visitors were awarded a free-kick near the touchline as Edison’s delivery found Danoj, who headed in past the wrong footed Arunasiri sparking wild celebrations, amidst shell-shocked Air Force players and crowd.
As the weather changed dramatically with a storm on the horizon, Air Force chased the game with venom pushing Solid onto the back foot. Solid’s lead was put under jeopardy when Peterite striker Peshala Malik got himself sent off for a studs-up challenge on Kolitha Lankeshwara.
Tharindu brilliantly saved a couple of efforts from Air Force strikers while another rattled the crossbar. The time ran out for the hosts and the heavens opened up as soon as referee Dayan Sendanayake blew the full time whistle.
ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Edison Figurado