Santosh Trophy: Raegan hat-trick wins it for Tamil Nadu

The star of Tamil Nadu's easy victory over Telangana was skipper A. Raegan, who pumped in three goals. Services, too, won comfortably, and the two teams will now meet in their final group game to decide the group winner.

Action from the Tamilnadu and Lakshadeep match in Kozhikode.   -  PTI

Services and Tamil Nadu posted on Sunday identical 4-0 wins, against Lakshadweep and Telangana respectively, to set up a fascinating final league match in the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifying tournament at the Corporation Stadium.

Tamil Nadu and Services have six points each going into that crucial encounter on Tuesday. It is, of course, the end of the road for Telangana and Lakshadweep, and quite expectedly so. Only one team from either group would qualify for the final phase of the Santosh Trophy.

Services, the winner of that phase in the last two editions, predictably had an easy time against Lakshadweep, the minnow which had impressed on its Santosh Trophy debut in the last match against Tamil Nadu. The men from the little islands played with big hearts yet again, but Services was just too strong for them.

The champion’s first goal came in the eighth minute, through Mohammed Arshad, who had been fed by Saroj Rai. Seventeen minutes later, Saroj himself scored a goal, and then another in the second-half.

The fourth goal came in the last minute of the injury time, with Arjun Tudu putting the ball past the keeper with his chest, after receiving a fine cross from Britto.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu had Telangana in all sorts of trouble, right through. The star of its easy victory was skipper A. Raegan, who pumped in three goals.

He first struck in the 15th minute making good use of a deft pass from inside the box from S. Nanda Kumar. His second goal came eight minutes later, off a corner-kick taken by E. Jai Ganesh.

Nanda Kumar scored Tamil Nadu’s third goal, in stunning fashion. He curled the ball in from some 20 yards away.

On Monday, the final two matches in Group-A — Andhra vs Puducherry and Kerala vs Karnataka — will be played. Host Kerala is sitting the prettiest, as a draw would be sufficient for it to qualify.

The results:

Group-B: Tamil Nadu 4 (A. Raegan 15, 23 & 79, S. Nanda Kumar 38) bt Telangana 0.

Services 4 (Mohammed Arshad 8, Saroj Rai 25 & 56, Arjun Tudu 90+4) bt Lakshadweep 0.