Eastern and Southern Provincial teams face an uphill task in semi-finals | Daily News
Ceylon Provincial League Tournament

Eastern and Southern Provincial teams face an uphill task in semi-finals

The Eastern and Southern Provincial teams will face an uphill task if they are to qualify for the final when they take on Northern and Sabaragamuwa teams in the second leg of the Ceylon Provincial League semi-finals fixtures played for the ‘Independence Trophy’ on March1(Tuesday) and 2 (Wednesday) respectively.

In today’s game, the Eastern team will play host to Northern team at Webber grounds in Batticaloa where the kick-off is scheduled for 3.30 p.m.The Eastern team consisting of a young and inexperienced side will have a major blow as two of their key players are sidelined due to injury. The national poolist Mohamed Rifkan one of the best strikers in the game and Mohamed Fayaz equally good as a defender have twisted their ankle during the first leg match at Jaffna were in the first eleven starting lineup. The absence of them will be a huge loss is likely make an impact on the end result. The only advantage for them will be playing amidst their home crowd their coach and think-tank Mohamed Roomy is pretty optimistic to go flat out and deliver the best to obtain a positive result. He expects their supporters will flock in numbers to cheer their team. But he showed his displeasure over poor refereeing which he says cost them immensely in their first leg encounter. Speaking to Daily News Roomy went on to say “We are very disappointed over the refereeing in Jaffna. Being a senior referee he made several blunders including few dangerous play incidents which could have been cards shown and penalties offered to us. Nevertheless,we have a very young and inexperienced side. With the injuries to our two key players which is a major blow for us, we are working hard to give a good run to our rival team which is imbibed with experienced players.” Said Roomy.

On the other hand, the Northern team is brimming with confidence. Their coach Jusmin said they are free from injuries and will be at full strength for this game. They merely need a draw to move in to the final while their rivals have to win by a margin of two goals difference if they are to qualify for the next stage of the tournament.

On Wednesday at Seevali grounds in Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa will host Southern Province team. Already with a 1-0 win in the first leg game, the home team needs a draw for them to move to the final.M.F.Rahuman their coach who was instrumental in guiding them to winning combination yet again believes the unity and the collective effort of the players was the reason behind their success. According to him his team is fully pumped up to go for another win in front of their home crowd to reserve a berth in the final.

For Southern team it is going to be a tough ask. They too will have to win by a margin of two goals. Shirantha Kumara their coach still believes it is achievable and hopes to rewrite history by winning this game. An interesting contest is expected in these two games.

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