Santosh Trophy: Kerala books semis spot after beating Punjab; West Bengal defeats Meghalaya

A profligate Kerala left it late but managed to squeeze out a 2-1 win over a stubborn Punjab. West Bengal survived a fight back from Meghalaya to register a 4-3 win to boost its semifinal chances.

Action from the contest between Meghalaya (in green) and Bengal on Friday. - AIFF MEDIA

An erratic West Bengal withstood a valiant fightback from Meghalaya to register a 4-3 win in the Santosh Trophy National Football championship at the Kottappadi stadium here on Friday.

The win boosts its chances of making it to the semifinals.

Defensive errors allowed Meghalaya to claw back and equalise thrice in the contest. However, Bengal goalkeeper Priyant Kumar Singh made the decisive save from a penalty kick taken by Meghalaya captain Hardy Cliff Nongbri in the 85th minute to ensure full points for his side. Priyant dived to his right to save the kick and then recovered in time to parry the rebound which was fired again by Hardy.

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Needing a win, Bengal dominated from the start against a Meghalaya side which surprisingly lacked thrust.

In the 22nd minute, Fardin Ali Molla swept the ball into an open net from close after receiving a cross from Dilip Orawn to underline Bengal’s dominance.

However, Meghalaya struck against the tide in the 39th minute. Kynsarbr Lhuid played a long ball to Sangti Janai Shianglong who side-stepped Bengal defender Shubhanka Adhikari to equalise. Bengal regained the lead when Farden Ali Molla converted a penalty in the 42nd minute.

Goals galore

The second half started with high-voltage action as both sides traded a goal apiece in the first minutes. Substitute Shano Tariang intercepted and stole the ball from a Bengal defender to fire in the equaliser in the 46th minute. However, Mahitosh Roy, with a clinical finish, restored the lead in the 49th minute.

Shano struck again in the 65th minute as he headed in a cross from Kynsarbor Lhuid to level the scores. But Mahitosh Roy scored his second goal to put Bengal ahead. Meghalaya attacked and nearly forced the equaliser but Priyant Kumar saved the day for his side.

Kerala books semis spot

Later in the day, a profligate Kerala left it late but managed to squeeze out a 2-1 win over a stubborn Punjab to book a place in the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy National Football championship at the Payyanad Stadium here on Friday.

Captain Jijo Joseph's brace broke the indomitable spirit of Punjab side that had taken the lead in the 11th minute through Manvir Singh. Jijo, who scored the equaliser in the 16th minute, scored the winning goal in the 86th minute.

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The victorious Kerala team acknowledging the crowd at the Payyanad stadium after entering the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy national football championships here on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Punjab goalkeeper Harpreet Singh kept his side in the contest with a lion hearted performance but he was let down by his defenders who failed to mark Jijo who nodded in the match winner in the 86th minute. The dynamics of the contest changed after Kerala fell behind. The goal ignited the aggression inside Kerala which dominated the contest and pulled off a deserving win.

The result
  • Bengal 4 (Farid Ali Molla 22’, 42’, Mahitosh Roy 49’, 69’) bt Meghalaya 3 (Sangti Janai Shianglong 39’, Shano Tariang 46’, 65’).
  • Kerala 2 (Jijo 16', 86) bt Punjab 1 (Manvir Singh 11')

Saturday’s matches
  • Karnataka v Manipur (Malappuram) 4 p.m., Odisha v Gujarat (Manjeri) 8 p.m.

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