Navy anchor finals’ berth with win over Ratnam
Employing some stout-hearted defense and sensible offense, the footballers from Navy were able to hang on to a single goal lead against Ratnam SC for most of the match’s second half, to seal a bitterly-contested 1-0 victory, in their Holcim FA Cup semifinal clash at the City Football League yesterday.
The crucial breakthrough came from M. Migara in the 51st minute of the game, headed a well-measured cross powerfully and accurately into the top corner of the goal. Besides the game’s only goal, the second half also saw an ugly altercation between Ratnam and Navy players, in which R. Mohideen was red carded for throwing punches at several Navy opponents.However prior to the moment that Navy scored, things had stood on an even keel, with neither team able to stamp their authority over the match.
During the first half Navy’s wingers did feed their strikers with some tantalizing crosses, but they never seemed to leave Ratnam goalkeeper S. Sylveria in any
real danger. Similarly, Navy’s agile goalie H. Kumara was able to deal with many threatening balls and runs around his penalty area with great ease.
After both teams reemerged for the second half, the tempo of the game rose by several notches. After minutes of end-to-end offense, there was a sense that something had to give and eventually Migara was able to capitalize on an uncharacteristic defensive lapse. Left unmarked within the Ratnam penalty area, he soared high into the air and imperiously deposited the ball past the helpless Sylveria.
The effects of this goal were clear to see, as Ratnam seemed to lose their bearings, leading to a penalty off a needless handball by M. Shaheeb, just a few minutes after Navy scored. However, Migara, the hero just minutes before, earned the ire of his team’s fans as he thumped the shot straight into the hands of a diving Sylveria. Nevertheless, his solitary goal proved enough to push his team over the line and into the tournament finals, where they will meet either Army or Renown.
Referee: G.N. Robesh.