Ratnam and Saunders weep over lost opportunitiesView(s):
Champions League Soccer opener
By David Stephens
Ratnam and Saunders found themselves involved in a rigid football tussle as neither side was able to break the shackles with a moment of inspiration, leaving things scoreless after ninety minutes of action in the offensively tepid curtain-raiser of the Dialog Champions League, played at the City Football League yesterday.
Although the match held a number of half chances, no side held a clear advantage at any point in the game, with play being mainly confined to the midfield. During the game’s opening half, Saunders looked to be playing the more aggressive of the two teams, passing the ball well near Ratnam’s goal area and occasionally threading their way deep.
However, they were never able to apply the crucial final touch necessary to trouble the Ratnam goalie. Eventually their inability to capitalize on their opportunities led to Ratnam finding its feet on offense. Ratnam came extremely close to breaking the deadlock in the 11th minute of play when Ediribandu Channa found himself unmarked while in the penalty area. His finish though, like so many on the day, was extremely wild, as it sailed over Saunders’ unconcerned keeper, Asanka Viraj.Channa then squandered two more chances in as many minutes when he pulled a free-kick wide from a threatening position before wasting another headed chance, this one though from a slightly tougher angle.
Heading into the second half, neither team looked keen on making too many attacking inroads, owing chiefly to the stiff defense being employed. The action had also gotten sloppy, and passing and dribbling were oftentimes lackadaisical from both sides.
Frustratingly, the each team’s attackers were never able to spin any sort of magic. Saunders’ Sanoj Sameera had the best of his team’s chances in the second half but was unwilling to pull the trigger and ended up being dispossessed before he could.
Despite running back and forth without any particular attacking intent, Ratnam had a golden chance in the game’s dying minutes. With acres of space in the penalty area however, they sent the ball rolling harmlessly into Viraj’s gloves, listing yet another wasted opportunity in a game full of them. In the day’s other game, New Young beat Kalutara Park 1-0 at Beruwela. New Young scored through Maleesha Ravishan.
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