Santosh Trophy: Bengal holds Goa; Services wins against Chandigarh

The draw ensured that Bengal stayed at the top of the table with seven points from three matches while Goa has four points from two matches. At Vasco in the same group, defending championship Services laboured to a 1-0 win over Chandigarh.

Goan captain Francisco Fernandez (left) and Bengal's Shaikham Ronald Singh fight for posession in the Santosh Trophy football tournment in Bambolim here on Thursday.

West Bengal missed a spate of chances and was held to a goalless draw by Goa in a Group A match of the 71st Santosh Trophy football championship at the GMC stadium, Bambolim here on Thursday.

The draw ensured that Bengal stayed at the top of the table with seven points from three matches while Goa has four points from two matches. At Vasco in the same group, defending championship Services laboured to a 1-0 win over Chandigarh for its first victory in two matches.

Bengal forced the pace from start and the trio of Manvir Singh, Morangthem Basanta Singh and Shaikhom Ronald Singh harried the Goan defence with their pace and skill. But they lacked the finishing punch as Goa survived the day.

Manvir Singh was wasteful upfront and spoiled the hard work done by Basanta Singh and Shiakhom Ronald. Manvir probably missed the easiest of the chances his team got in the 10th minute. The chance was a gift from the Goan goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes who fumbled with a collection and dropped the ball at Basanta Singh’s feet.

Basnta Singh passed the ball to an unmarked Manvir Singh who was in a better position to shoot. But the striker shot out to waste the chance.

Manvir Singh at the fag end of the first half had another look at the Goan goal. The spade work was again done by Basanta Singh. But this time the Goan goalkeeper was alert enough to avert the danger.

The Goan attack was predictable with moves emanating mostly from the left flank and it failed to test the Bengal defence which was solid and nipped the moves before it became threatening.

The only goal bound shot Goa managed in the first half came in the 42nd minute when Leander D. Cunha attempted a first time volley from outside the box. But the shot lacked direction and went over the bar.

There wasn’t any marked change in the pattern of play in the second half. Goa continued to play second fiddle and but whenever it pressed forward its defence was vulnerable to fast counter attacks launched by Bengal.

Bengal’s Debashish Pradashan induced a good save from the Goan keeper Agnelo Gomes in the 60th minute off a counter attack.

In the 70th minute Shaikom Ronald Singh broke free on the left flank and hoodwinked two defenders to squeeze in a good centre but Manvir Singh couldn’t connect with his head and the ball rolled out of play.

Despite playing second fiddle to its rivals, Goa had a chance to sew up the match in the 88th minute when Liston Coalco found himself free in the Bengal box as a high ball was relayed to him. But with only the goalkeeper to beat the striker failed to control the ball and lost the opportunity.

Services got its stuttering campaign on track with a solitary goal win over Chandigarh. Francis Zountlunga scored the match winner in the ninth minute.

On Friday, Kerala takes on Punjab while Maharashtra plays Railways in Group B.

The results:

West Bengal drew with Goa 0-0 ; Services 1 (Francis Zountlunga 9) bt Chandigarh 0.