Santosh Trophy: Bengal pounds five in the second half to down Maharashtra

Defending champion Bengal handed Maharashtra a 5-1 thrashing in their Group-A league clash in the Santosh Trophy, on Wednesday.

Having downed former champion Manipur 3-0 in the opening match, Bengal continued its fine form against Maharashtra.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Defending champion Bengal scored five in the second half to erase a goal’s deficit and outplay Maharashtra 5-1 in its second a Group-A league outing of the National Football Championship for the Santosh trophy at the Sailen Manna Sports Complex Howrah on Wednesday. In another match of the same group, Chandigarh held Manipur to a 1-1 draw.

Having downed former champion Manipur 3-0 in the opening match, Bengal looked to continue its good form against Maharashtra. Despite making a good start the host failed to find an early lead, which came Maharashtra’s way against the run of play. Maharashtra gained the lead in the eighth minute when Leander Dharmai capitalised on a defensive error and found the net following Kiran Pandhare’s free-kick.

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Maharashtra preserved the lead in the first half but Bengal came back strongly after the break and equalised 10 minutes into the second half. Looking to effectuate its attacks, Bengal started utilising the flanks more and found success when winger Sumit Das floated in a cross for Manotosh Chakladar to slot past Maharashtra goalkeeper Manav Baraskar.

Encouraged by the equaliser, Bengal mounted the pressure and snatched the lead in the 62nd minute when Jiten Murmu made the most a free-kick from Tirthankar Sarkar.

Maharashtra tried to regroup after conceding the second goal but its efforts were nixed by Bengal, which appeared more composed in the attack. Bengal soon made it 3-1 as its under-21 striker Bidyashagar Singh found the target in the 79th minute. The side did not let up the pressure and added two more to its tally in the last 10 minutes of action.

Bidyashagar found his second the team’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute before substitute Rajon Barman rounded off the scoring process in the 89th minute.

Manipur and Chandigarh settle for a draw

In the other match, Manipur drew the first blood in the 25th minute when Nagamba Naocha made the most of confusion in Chandigarh defence and found the net with a brilliant solo effort. Despite playing well in the opening session, Chandigarh had to wait till 65th minute, when it found the equaliser off Vivek Rana, who struck the target availing a low cross from the right flank.

Bengal remained on top of the group league table with six points while Manipur and Chandigarh had one point each two their credit.


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