Santosh Trophy 2019: Telangana beats Puducherry 3-0 in South Zone qualifiers

M.T. Manu Prasad, P. Sujai and Mohammed Ahtesham Ali scored for Telangana in the final South Zone qualifier match against Puducherry at Kozhikode.

Mohammed Ahtesham Ali scoring Telangana's third goal against Puducherry.   -  R. Ragesh

The match was as inconsequential as you would ever get, but that didn't stop Telangana and Puducherry from producing some interesting action in the last match of the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifiers.

Telangana won 3-0 at the Corporation Stadium on Saturday and could go home with three points, hard-earned ones at that. Puducherry has to return empty-handed though, having lost both its matches Pool B.

Karnataka had already qualified from the group for the final phase of the National football championship, while from the other pool, host Kerala made the grade.

It was therefore virtually an empty stadium that greeted the two teams on the final day. The match began with the Telangana men showing more urgency.

Their efforts bore fruit as early as the seventh minute, with M.T. Manu Prasad 's drive, mostly along the ground, beating a somewhat uninterested defence and goalkeeper Divakar. Six minutes before the interval, Telangana went 2-0 up, as P. Sujai headed neatly home a fine cross from Manu.

READ | Karnataka qualifies for Santosh Trophy final leg

The Puducherry men made a fight of it in the second half, despite playing with 10 men for most of the time, after defender M. Vijayan was sent off, having earned two cautions. They had come close to scoring on a few occasions but were let down by poor finishing.

They conceded another goal, with nine minutes from close – substitute Mohammed Ahtesham Ali ran with great speed down the right wing and went past the Telangana defence and the goalie.

The result: Telangana 3 (M.T. Manu Prasad 7, P. Sujai 39, Mohammed Ahtesham Ali 81) bt Puducherry 0.

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