Santosh Trophy: Manipur blanks Karnataka to enter semifinals

A ruthless Manipur blanked Karnataka 3-0 to enter the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship at the Kottappadi Stadium.

Karnataka's Ankith (no 6) and Manipur's Lunminlen Haokip engaged in a midfield duel during Santhosh Trophy National football championship at the Kottappadi stadium on Saturday.

A ruthless Manipur blanked Karnataka 3-0 to enter the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship at the Kottappadi Stadium in Malappuram on Saturday.

Striker Lunminlen Haokip struck a brace (18 & 42) while Somishon Shirak (44) scored the other goal as Manipur completed its league engagements with nine points from four matches.

READ: Santosh Trophy: Kerala books semis spot after beating Punjab; West Bengal defeats Meghalaya

Karnataka paid the price for some tardy defending in the first half. From the start, the Karnataka defence looked susceptible to swift counters from the Manipur side. The opening goal came through a fast break when Somishon Shirak moved up through the right flank and easily warded off the challenge from Darshan to arrow in a pass to Lunminlen who scored from close.

Manipur held the aces and translated its dominance when Luminlen broke free from the left and rounded off a couple of defenders to score his second goal in the 42nd minute. Two minutes later, Somishon profited from another slack marking and he found space to fire in a shot which was parried by Karnataka goalkeeper Jayanth kumar. However, the rebound came to Somishon who tapped in to increase the lead.

Karnataka gave a vastly improved performance in the second half but Manipur defence didn't allow any leeway and the North East side played percentage football to preserve its lead.

The result:

Manipur 3 (Lunminlen Haokip 18, 42, Somishon Shirak 44) bt Karnataka 0.

Today's matches:

Rajasthan v West Bengal (Malappuram), 4 p.m., Meghalaya v Punjab (Manjeri), 8 p.m.

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