Santosh Trophy: West Bengal stuns Services; Chandigarh beats Meghalaya

West Bengal stunned defending champion Services by a solitary goal to notch up its second straight win in Group A of the 71st Santosh Trophy National Football championship at the GMC stadium, Bambolim here on Tuesday.

West Bengal stunned defending champion Services by a solitary goal to notch up its second straight win in Group A of the 71st Santosh Trophy National Football championship at the GMC stadium, Bambolim here on Tuesday.

Moirangthem Basanta Singh struck the winning goal in the 20th minute for Bengal which managed to survive a spirited fightback from Services in the second half to earn full points.

West Bengal executed its game plan better against Services which suffered from struggled to settled down as a cohesive unit. Services’ plans of a comeback went awry when star striker Arjun Tudu was sent off for arguing with the referee in the 73rd minute.

Bengal’s defensive gameplan was evident from the start when it crowded the defence to soak up the early pressure from Services and counter attacked when opportunity came. It worked well as the Services goal came under constant pressure in the first half as the trio of Manvir Singh, Moirangthem and Shaikhom Ronald made their presence felt in counter attacks.

Shaikhom Ronald had the first look at the Services goal in the 17th minute when he was put in position by Manvir Singh. But the under-21 player blasted out when he had only the goalkeeper to beat. However, three minutes later Bengal went ahead when Shaikhom Ronald Singh found space and time to squeeze in a pass from the left flank. The ball bounced off the body of a services’ defender and came to an unmarked Moirangthem Basanta Singh who slotted home from close in the 20th minute.

The riposte from Services was quick and Bengal goalkeeper Sankar Roy punched out a stiff shot from Jelison in the 26th minute. Manvir Singh again put the Services defence under duress in the 35th minute off a swift counter attack but the striker missed his shot.

Services showed positive intent in the second half. But Bengal defence was equal to the task and goalkeeper Sankar Roy raised his game to thwart the rival strikers on a few occasion. Sankar made a good save to deny Anoop Pauly and in the 75th minute, P. Jain saw his 25-yard rebound off the far post. Services’ chances effectively ended when Arjun Tudu was sent off. Bengal was also reduced to 10-men when Monotosh Chakladar was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 89th minute but it hardly mattered as Bengal hung on to earn valuble points.

Chandigarh came back from behind to defeat Meghalya 2-1 in the other Group A match at Vasco. After a goalless first half, Chandigarh fell behind by goal from Kitboklang Pale in the 51st minute. Gangandeep Singh equalised for Chandigarh in the 64th minute while Sehijpal Singh snatched the match winner in the injury time.

On Wednesday, Kerala will takes on Railways while Punjab plays Mizoram in Group B.

The result

West Bengal 1 (Moirangthem Basanta Singh 20) bt Services 0.

Chandigarh 2 (Gangandeep Singh 64, Sehijpal Singh 91) bt Meghalaya 1 (Kiboklang Pale 51).

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