Sabaragamuwa, NP and EP qualify for semi – finals
Sabaragamuwa, Northern and Eastern Province teams have qualified for the semi-finals of the inaugural Ceylon Provincial Tournament after completion of the sixth round matches. The tournament is played for the ‘Independence Trophy’ and organized and hosted by Football Sri Lanka (FSL) at various venues throughout the country.
All three teams occupy the first three positions of the points table and have entered the knock out stage. They still have one more game to be completed in the group stage eventually, but will have no impact in the team’s positioning.
Table leaders Sabaragamuwa put up an enthralling performance to defeat Central 2-0 with goals scored by M.F.M. Rasan and skipper M.N.M. Shifan. With this win, they have obtained 14 points off four wins and two drawn matches.
The second position is secured by the Northern Province team. Until the fourth week, they were heading the table, but Sabaragamuwa surged ahead to the top with an additional win at the end of the fifth stage. They were held to a 2-all draw by Wayamba Rajarata which enabled them to score 12 points collected through three wins and an equal number of drawn matches. T. Clinton and midfielder M. Nitharshan were instrumental in scoring the goals.
Nitharshan maintains the top position as the highest goal scorer of the tournament with six goals, including the hat trick scored against Southern Province in a previous game.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Province team climbed up to the third position by ousting Western. They were able to win two games while forcing four games to a draw, including holding the mighty Northern team to a scoreless draw in their last outing. This earned them 10 points so far.
The team Southern is placed fourth after a superb 3 goals to 1 win over Uva. K.M.N. Rajapaksa booted two while Keshan Dumindu scored the other goal for them. Even though they have 10 points they will have to either win or force a draw in their final game against Eastern, which will see them to the next stage of the tournament. In the event they lose this game and Western can beat Northern then the Western province will be eligible for the next round.
With the conclusion of the final stage matches this week, the semi-final matches are scheduled to kick off on the 25 and 26 of this month, and venues will be based on the teams’ that qualify.
The grand finale, which was scheduled for the 28th of this month, has been rescheduled for 5 March due to unavoidable circumstances. The venue for this too will be decided based on the teams that qualify