Karnataka qualifies for Santosh Trophy final leg

Karnataka beats Telangana 6-1 to become the first team from the zone to advance to the final stage of the national championship to be held in Mizoram in 2020.

Karnataka and Telangana in action at the Santosh Trophy fixture in Kozhikode on Friday.   -  S. RAMESH KURUP


With 15 minutes left for the final whistle, Telangana's goalkeeper Reddi Rajinaidu moved out of his area, handled the ball and duly collected a red card. It was that kind of a day for his team, which was hammered 1-6 by Karnataka in the Santosh Trophy South Zone qualifiers at the Corporation Stadium on Friday.

The win also helped Karnataka become the first team from the zone to advance to the final stage of the national championship, to be held in Mizoram early next year. It has won both its matches Group B and finished its engagements with an impressive record – six points; 13 goals scored and just one conceded.

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This was Telangana's first match and now its clash with Puducherry on Sunday will be purely of academic interest. The other team to qualify for Mizoram will be known on Saturday, when Kerala takes on Tamil Nadu in Group A. While the host needs just a draw because of a superior goal difference, its neighbouring state needs to win.

Like Kerala, the Karnataka men also like to play aggressive football. They were expected to be too good for Telangana, and they certainly were.

Their first goal was a beauty. Off an excellent pass from near the left corner flag by Naorem Roshan Singh, Dip Majumdar came up with a splendid drive to the far post. Thirteen minutes later, he scored again, this time from a much shorter pass, inside the box, from N. Solaimalai.

Though no more goal came in the opening half, the second produced four, with Amay Morajkar and M. Nikhil Raj scoring two each. Yumnan Arnold Singh pulled one back for Telangana, and that was the only bright spot for the team.

The result: Karnataka 6 (Dip Majumdar 11 & 24, Amay Morajkar 55-p & 57, M. Nikhil Raj 61 & 87) bt Telangana 1 (Yumnam Arnold Singh 65).

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