Santosh Trophy 2019-20: Karnataka begins campaign in style

Karnataka opened its 2019-20 Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifiers campaign with a very dominant 7-0 win over Puducherry on Wednesday.

Karnataka looks well set to qualify once again for the final stage of the Santosh Trophy after making the semifinals last season.   -  S_RAMESHKURUP

When the right-back spends most of his time as a tireless, fleet-footed winger, it gives a fair idea about the game. Karnataka could afford such a luxury, and more, against a clueless Puducherry on the second day of the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifiers on Wednesday.

Karnataka won 7-0 at the Corporation Stadium. In the last edition of the tournament, the team had reached the semifinals where it lost to the eventual champion Services.

Karnataka looks well set to qualify once again for the final stage of the National championship, to be held in Sikkim early next year. On this day, it was just too good for Puducherry, which was forced to defend its vulnerable goal almost right through the match.

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As for Karnataka, it was not just Namgyal Bhutia who felt confident enough to leave his post in the backline and venture into the Puducherry half with gay abandon. For a considerable part of the game, only the goalkeeper Jayanth Kumar Krishnamurthy could be spotted inside the Karnataka half and there must have been occasions when he would have felt so bored and wished he could be part of some action, too.

Divakar, though, could not have complained. The Puducherry custodian was one of the busiest men on the ground. But, he could not have been too happy with his work though as he didn't gather the balls tidily enough, which proved too costly on a couple of occasions.

The opening goal, however, had more to do with the brilliance of Dip Majumdar, who came up with a lovely solo run down the right and dribbled past the Puducherry defence. Within 11 minutes, he would score once more, but that was only after Vignesh Chandrasekhar drove neatly into the Puducherry net.

There was another goal in the first half, from Sudheer Kotikela. Karnataka was as ruthless after the interval, too.

On Thursday, Tamil Nadu begins its campaign with a match against Andhra Pradesh, which was thrashed 0-5 by Kerala in the opening match.

THE RESULT:

Karnataka 7 (Dip Majumdar 20 & 31, Vignesh Gunasekhar 26, Sudheer Kotikela 32, M. Nikhil Raj 48, Amay Morajkar 74, N. Solaimalai 78) bt Puducherry 0.

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