Santosh Trophy: Maharashtra grabs second win, Services downs J&K

Maharashtra got its second consecutive win with a 3-0 drubbing of the Railways while defending champion Services started the defence of its title with a win over Jammu and Kashmir.

Maharashtra's Aaron D'costa (right) and Sajan Deep Singh of Railways fight for ball possession.   -  S. Sudarshan

Maharashtra’s strikers hit the right notes to derail the Indian Railways in a Group ‘A’ match in the 70th Santosh Trophy football championship at the SEC Railway stadium here on Wednesday.

The 3-0 win gave the host its second straight win in the tournament. Vijith Shetty (14th), Mohammed Shabaz (39th) and Aaron D’Costa (61st) scored the goals for Maharashtra which made two changes from the team that beat J &K 3-1 on the opening day.

Maharashtra struck rhythm very early and the one-touch passing game was pleasing and effective in causing enough confusion in the rival defence.

After hesitant probings, Maharashtra went ahead in the 14th minute. Aaron D’Costa did the spadework for the opening goal slicing open the Railway defence to send Vijith clear and the striker buried his shot with a left footer from the top of the box.

The Railways could never recover from the early goal and it was forced to play catch up for major parts of the match. The intent was there but Railways failed to execute its plans and exposed its defence to swift counterattacks by the quick-footed Maharshtra strikers.

The second Maharashtra goal came at a time when Railways was threatening a comeback. But the few raids it managed at the rival goal didn’t have the desired effect as the lack of cohesion inside the box proved to be their undoing.

Aaron’s opportunism paved the way for the second goal as the striker snatched the ball from Railways captain Gurpreet Singh from just outside the penalty box and squared it to Mohammed Shabaz who entered the box and beat the goalkeeper with a low shot towards his right.

Maharashtra increased the lead from the first worthwhile chance it got in the second half. Aaron D’costa after providing passes for the first two goals turned out to be the goal-scorer himself. He beat the off-side trap and rounded the onrushing goalkeeper Jagaroop Singh to score the third goal in the 61st minute.

Maharashtra dominated but failed to score more and it was Railway goalkeeper Jagaroop Singh’s alacrity under the bar which prevented a complete rout. In the 75th minute Shabaz only had Jagaroop to beat but fumbled and the goalkeeper recovered to make a fine save. Jagaroop again denied Abhishek with a good save in the 85th minute after the striker was put through by Raynier Fernandez.

Maharashtra coach Augusto D’Silva was happy with the win but lamented the chances missed by his strikers in the second half. The coach said that contrary to the scoreline the match was tough and it would put his young team in good stead in the next match against Mizoram.

At the University stadium, defending champion Services kicked started its campaign with a solitary goal win over J & K which slumped to its second straight defeat. After a goalless first half, P.Jain scored the match-winner in the 52nd minute.

Results

Maharashtra 3 (Vijith Shetty 14, Mohammed Shabaz 39, Aaron D’costa 61) bt Railways 0.

Services 1 (P.Jain 52) bt Jammu & Kashmir 0.

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