Europa, Saturni, Makara 14, 2077, m249
With their playoff chances at risk, the Immortals Captain, Uday Lanka, returned to action to help lead his team to a 1 – 0 win over United.
“I’m not 100% yet but this was a big match for us as United’s improved a lot and we have Al’amal and Dynamo breathing down our throats for a playoff spot”, said Lanka. “At this stage, every game is crucial.”
And that urgency was also felt by United as they came into the match sitting just outside of a playoff spot needing a win to stay within striking distance.
And yet despite having home field advantage, United was unable to produce, creating few offensive chances as their recent forward additions of Darkeem Dennis and Yvonne Barnato were shut down.
Which meant an all too familiar story for United – their over reliance on their steady and stingy defence to keep them close. A noticeably slower Lanka who ran gingerly most of the match also helped United.
And with all signs pointing towards overtime, lady luck would rear its head, much to the favour of Amrita.
An errant pass from United goalkeeper Kevin Sulzberger fell right into the path of a surprised yet willing Lanka, who responded with a powerful volley past Sulzberger for the winning goal….at the 89th minute!
With the win, the Immortals moved to 10 – 8 for the season and sole possession of 3rd place in league standings for now, while United dropped to 7 – 11.
While United is still mathematically within playoff contention with three weeks left, the likelihood of this materializing is dependent on United winning all of their upcoming 3 matches.
They will have home field advantage again next week against the league leading Titans and then faceWuji (@ home) and Dong Ji (on the road).
“We can’t look too far ahead”, said Dennis, when asked about his return to Dong Ji, his previous team. “We need to channel the frustration from today’s loss to motivate us next week against the Titans if we are to have a shot at the playoffs”.
Lanka commented on his team’s chances, “We have a tough schedule to finish off the season as we play all the contenders - the Titans, Comets, and Al’amal. Tonight we get rest. Tomorrow, we get ready.”