Both Semis Going to be Cliffhangers

Inter University Football Championship -2017 was commenced with a glamourous opening ceremony hosted by Uva Wellassa University. Many dignitaries were present including the Vice Chancellor of UWU as the players decorated the parade representing their respective universities. At the end of day-2 University of Jaffna, University of Moratuwa, University of Peradeniya and University of Sri Jayawardanepura were able to qualify for the play-offs.

Group stage matches ended up resulting few upsets in the tournament. Group D results were the shock for the audience as Wayamba defeated Colombo by 2-1. Sabaragamuwa University defeated all their group counterparts to be the leading side of group D. Since University of Kelaniya was able to secure a hard-fought win over Wayamba, University of Colombo qualified for the quarter-finals. The group B match between University of Moratuwa and University of Sri Jayawardanepura got off to a nerve tingling end as both Mora and Japura failed to score. In spite of the incredible saves from the Mora keeper, Mandapa Pandithage, Japura managed to win the match by penalty shootouts.

Almost all the quarter finals went on to be nail biting in the end since all the teams did their best to qualify for semis. Japura and Colombo faced each other in their quest for semi-final birth.  Colombo was able to score a goal by the penalty awarded for a foul inside the box. Both Japura and Colombo searched for their chances. But Japura player Dinusha netted a splendid shoot to find the equalizer. Since the score was 1-1 at the end of the game penalties came into play as usual. With the accurate placements Japura players beat Colombo to book their place for semis.    The quarter final match between Jaffna and South Eastern was a tough tussle. Until the dying moments of the game South Eastern was able to suppress Jaffna to 2-2 score. But Jaffna players made no mistake with their penalties scoring 4, while South Eastern was able to score only 2.

The quarter final between Mora and Sabara turned out be a cliff hanger as it extended to pently shootouts.  At the initial stage of the match Mora couldn’t resist the attacking style of game by Sabara. Though the newly appointed Captain, Sanka, did his best, the absence of Mora Capitan, Kasun Rasanjana, due to injury was too costly for University of Moratuwa. Mora Keeper was able stop few good shots by Sabara players which were right on the target. But their continuous attacking gave the first goal for Sabara within the first half. Soon there was another huge blow waiting for Mora. Their Goal keeper got severely injured when he went to stop a one-to-one goal scoring option of Sabara. Mora had to replace the Keeper with their other option. As the game progressed Sabara continued to shoot on the target with their speedy forwards. In spite of his injury Mora Captain stepped in as the 5th substitute and changed the momentum of the game by creating goal scoring opportunities. Ultimately Ajanthasingam went dashing through defense of Sabara to give Mora the hard-fought goal in additional time. As the penalty shootouts started, Mora netted its opportunities in a skillful manner. Then again Mora Captain lead from the front by serving as a keeper for penalties and stopped few penalties of Sabara to make sure the birth in play-offs. In the last quarter final Pera won the match by 3-2 defeating Eastern University in a closely contested game.

Indisputably, both Mora vs. Jaffna and Japura vs. Pera semi-final matches are going to be cliffhangers!!!

Article By : Imthadh Ahamed 

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