Southern stun Sabaragamuwa to progress to final on Penalties

Ceylon Provincial League 2022

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Southern celebrating the win against Sabaragamuwa in the 2nd leg semi-final | Ceylon Provincial League 2022 – Independence Trophy

Southern Province produced a brilliant comeback against Sabaragamuwa to book a place in the final of the Ceylon Provincial League 2022, played for the Independence Trophy at the Seevali Grounds, Rathnapura.

The confidence was high for Sabaragamuwa, who came into the 2nd leg leading after winning the 1st leg 1-0 in Galle while Southern needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat against a defense that had only conceded thrice in 8 matches.

Sabaragamuwa did get the early looks on goal, but Rasik Rishad was excellent between the posts, saving several including a couple from Sabaragamuwa skipper Mohamed Shifan.

After wasting a few free-kicks, Chathuranga Madushan’s smartly taken free-kick saw Southern take the lead, and equalize on aggregate, on the stroke of half time. Madushan’s delivery found Supun Dananjaya, who headed across the goal for Keshan Dumidu to flick it past Nuwan Gimhana.

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Just minutes into the 2nd half, the hosts were down to 10-men when Avishka Deshan was sent off after receiving his 2nd yellow card.

Two minutes later in the 54th minute, Southern doubled their lead, silencing the home crowd. Lakshan Dananjaya’s free kick was headed in by Mohamed Rislan adding salt to the wounds of Sabaragamuwa.

The visitors controlled the game from there onwards until the final few minutes where Sabaragamuwa desperately pushed forward for a goal. They did get one in the form of a penalty in the 90th minute which was despatched by Mohamed Ijas.

Tharindu Danushka, who came on as a substitute for Southern in injury time, was sent off on the stroke of full time for verbally abusing the referee, as it ended 2-1 on the day and 2-2 on aggregate, sending the match into penalties.

In the penalty shootout Southern skipper Rasik Rishad was brilliant, saving the penalties of Mohamed Munshif and Mohamed Rasan while N. Deshapriya scored the first penalty. Lakshan Dananjaya, Avishka Kavindu, Supun Dananjaya and Chathuranga Madushan all scored, sending Southern into the final winning the shootout 4-1.

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