Army breaks all defences to win title
Sri Lanka Army Soccerites broke through the defence line of defending
Champions Ratnam SC to touch the Dialog Premier League championship at
CR & FC grounds yesterday. This success for Army in a major tourney came
after a long period of 13 years. The last major tourney they won was the
FA Cup way back in 1995.
The Most Valuable Player, Army’s Mohamed Issadeen is chased
by ratnam SC’s Francis Camillus during the final.
The soldiers coached by former national player Major S. Pathmanathan
played the best soccer that was expected in a mega final of this nature.
Ratnam SC entered the fray with high hopes but failed to settle down
quickly and the soldiers got their act together immediately to trouble
The Army strikers were always seen in their opponents’s territory
trying to get the most needed lead they were looking for. The strikers
could not capitalise from the four opportunities they got during the
first twenty minutes of play missing goals to surprise the packed house
at the CR & FC ground.
Ratnam SC players in the meantime settled down and were moving the
ball well but the defence line of the Army stood their ground to halt
the goal hungry Kasum Jaysuriya and E.B. Channa from finding their
The battle continued with Army having most of the possession and
Ratnam players baffled with the sort of play adopted by the soldiers.
The 30th minute saw the Army get the much wanted goal from their star
player Mohamed Issadeen.
Issadeen who was the star of the day moved up and down to work the
ball with the support coming from the midfielders. He collected the fall
that came from the left wing Asanka de Silva and made no mistake with
his kick to find the correct target. With this goal he also became the
second highest goal getter this season in Segment A.
Meanwhile the Kotahena boys had to struggle to go past the Army’s
defence line manned by S.R. Susil Pradeep, P.G.R.K. Premanayake and Y.
Yakitha Jayatunga. Which the could not do in the first session of play.
K.K. Piyankara the custodian of the Army team too made a fine
contribution during this period making many good saves and Kasun
Jayasuriya and E.B. Channa were rearly surprised by the saves. These two
strikers too made few mistakes in front of the posts which too made
their side go down during the first forty five minutes of play. Half
time Army 1 / Ratnam 0.
The second session began with Ratnam SC bringing in former captain
Rawmy Mohideen to replace Pradeep Perera.
His inclusion strengthened the Ratnam team to a certain extent. But
the soldiers maintained their supremacy and were once again were well
ahead with their quick passes and movements.
Kasun Jayasuriya winner of the ‘Golden Boot’ award for the
third successive year.
This became a big threat and the Ratnam SC and had to defend
themselves rather than going on the attack.
Army’s attackers were very fast and moved quickly with the ball to
their opponent’s area.
The 56th minute was the luckiest for soliders when a cross from
Asanka de Silva to Issadeen was booted into the net by Ratnam defender
Dudley Steinwall to put the soldiers further ahead, 2-0.
Rawmy Mohideen the substitute for the Kotahena team played his best
to put his side into contention. His moves were right on target for the
strikers but they could not make good use of those to score.
The 86th minute saw Mohideen make a solo effort from the right wing
and a bullet like shot found the net to reduce the lead 2-1. Soldiers
held onto their lead until the final whistle to go away with a win to
carry the Dialog Premier League Trophy.
Mohamed Issadeen the main striker for Army this season with a tally
of 12 goals was awarded the trophy for the Most Valuable Player.
Jubilant Army team celebrating their victory. Pix by Ranjith
Kasun Jayasuriya Sri Lanka’s striker who won the ‘Golden Boot’. Award
for two consecutive seasons with 10, and 11 goals made it three in a row
when he had a total of 13 goals. He was awarded the ‘Golden Boot’ award
this year too.
Pelicans Sports Club received the ‘Fair Play’ Trophy for their
excellent behaviour on and off the field.
H.K.C. Dilan Perera while controlling the game had to pull out the
warning card five times to 3 Army players and 2 Ratnam players.
The winner was awarded the Dialog Premier League Trophy and a cash
prize of Rs. 500,000 while the runners up carried a purse worth Rs.
Chief Marketing Officer Dialog Telekom Ltd Nushad Perera was the
Chief Guest and gave away the main awards.