The footballers from Army strangled Renown S.C with suffocating defence and then pummeled them with continuous waves of attack, to win 3-1, in their Dialog Champions League encounter at the City Football Complex yesterday.
Renown looked completely lost throughout their match and could only look on helplessly as each one of Army’s players lined up to take goal bound swipes. The only time Renown had a semblance of control over the match was during the opening minutes of the game when they marched forward with several enterprising runs.
However they could only get a brief sight at goal during these periods, before their attack was snuffed out, more often than not with a bone jarring Army tackle. The few times they did get a shot off, Army’s goalkeeper, Kumara Sirisena, was there to slap the ball away.
After an unrelenting onslaught on the Renown defence, Army finally managed to inflict a crucial blow on the stroke of half time. A slick pass was slotted into the box right in the path of Lasantha Kumara, who wasted no time in depositing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Renown must have got an earful from their coach during the halftime break because they emerged playing a lot more positively and keeping possession better. This reaped immediate dividends when Ahmed Abbas, who had been persistently chasing long balls and trying his best to create chances, scored in the 52nd minute to level things.
Ironically, this goal served to raise the level of Army’s play even higher than what it had been in the game’s opening half. First half scorer Lasantha Kumara once again made his mark on the match, this time slaloming into the box and whipping the ball past the helpless Mohamed Hajmal.
It seemed order had been restored for Army and they kept on moving forward, and employing stifling defence until Renowned once again assumed a look of utter confusion. The final straw that broke Renown’s defensive back came from M. Ishadeen. Ishadeen innocuously volleyed the ball hard into the ground but goalkeeper Hajmal completely misjudged the ball’s flight and failed to corral it. The result- Army got yet another goal that sealed a victory which they rightly deserved.
Referee: Dilan Perera