Santosh Trophy: Karnataka, Punjab through to semifinals amid drama

Punjab progressed as the winner of Group B while Karnataka sneaked through as runner-up by virtue of having scored one goal more than Maharashtra.

The battle for the two semifinal spots from the group was poised on a knife edge after Maharashtra routed Sikkim 5-0 in the morning. (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

Karnataka and Punjab advanced to the semifinals of the Santosh Trophy amid much drama at the Guru Nanak Stadium here on Wednesday.

Punjab progressed as the winner of Group B while Karnataka sneaked through as runner-up by virtue of having scored one goal more than Maharashtra.

The battle for the two semifinal spots from the group was poised on a knife edge after Maharashtra routed Sikkim 5-0 in the morning.

But Maharashtra was probably disadvantaged by the fact that Karnataka and Punjab were meeting later in the evening, aware of the qualification scenarios.

Punjab edged Karnataka 4-3, with Vikrant Singh netting a brace for the host.

The outcome helped Punjab top the group (9 points).

In second place, though, Karnataka and Maharashtra were now level on points (7). The earlier fixture between them had ended in a draw and their goal difference was also the same (5).

It then boiled down to the number of goals scored where Karnataka (12) edged out Maharashtra (11).

In the semifinals, to be played on Friday, Karnataka will face Services while Punjab meets Goa.

The results: Group B: Karnataka 3 (Magesh Selva 13, John Peter 33, M. Nikhil Raj 60) lost to Punjab 4 (Sukhpreet Singh 16, Vikrant Singh 31, 43, Amandeep Singh 73); Maharashtra 5 (Aman Gaikwad 15, Vinodkumar Pandey 26, Leander Dharmai 45, Arif Shaikh 52, 54) bt Sikkim 0.

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