Santosh Trophy: Goa holds Tamil Nadu, Punjab beats Assam

Tamil Nadu was wasteful in front of goal as it drew 0-0 with Goa while Punjab handed Assam another loss.

V Premkumar (R) of Tamil Nadu battles for the ball with Angnelo Coloco of Goa during a Santosh Trophy match in Nagpur.   -  S. Sudarshan

A dominant Tamil Nadu failed to convert its chances and had to settle for a goalless draw against Goa in a Pool ‘B’ match of the 70th Santosh Trophy National football championship at the SEC Railway stadium here on Saturday.

Punjab defeated Assam 2-0 for its first win in the same pool at the University stadium and the result has opened up the group. Goa is leading the points table with seven from three matches while Tamil Nadu has four from two. Both Bengal and Punjab have three points each from two matches while Assam has lost both its matches in the pool so far.

Tamil Nadu never allowed the Goans to play their free flowing game, cramming them for space in the midfield. From the start Tamil Nadu wrested control in the midfield and kept possession for major part of the match. Tamil Nadu created more chances and had more shots at the rival goal but failed to score the all-important goal.

Though Tamil Nadu midfielders made the decisive difference between the two sides, there was a distant lack of co-ordination between them and the strikers. The promising build-ups fizzled out as the final pass often went astray. Moreover, the Tamil Nadu strikers weren’t sharp enough today to convert the chances and half-chances that came their way.

Edwin Sydney, Raegan had close looks at theGoan goal but failed to test Kattimani in the first half. The best chance however, came to Raegan after a fine cross from Edwin from the right flank split open the Goan defence. But Raegan delayed his shot and allowed Kattimani to punch the ball away for a corner in the 30th minute.

The Tamil Nadu dominance continued in the second half as well. A long ball from Sathish found Raegan free but the striker headed straight at Kattimani to waste the opportunity in the 50th minute. Sathish’s pile driver in the 57th minute was fisted away for a corner by Kattimani.

The Goa coach made rapid substitutions but couldn’t alter the course of the contest. The Goans for their part were happy to play second fiddle and should count them lucky to salvage a point from a match where they were clearly outplayed.

Goa coach Alfred Fernandez said that injuries to some key players including Milagres Gonsalves upset the game plan and admitted that his team was lucky to draw the match. Tamil Nadu coach Robin Charles Raja was a bit disappointed and rued the missed chances in the match.

Punjab kept its hopes alive by scoring a 2-0 win over Assam. Vijay Kumar (11th) and Pawan Kumar Tiwari (76th) scored for the winner.

Results

Tamil Nadu drew with Goa 0-0; Punjab 2 (Vijay Kumar 11, Pawan Kumar Tiwari 76) bt Assam 0.

Sunday’s matches: Jammu & Kashmir v Mizoram; Maharashtra v Services.

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