Santosh Trophy: Kerala thumps Rajasthan 5-0; skipper Jijo scores hat-trick

Earlier, Bengal defeated Punjab 1-0 in the tournament’s opening match at Malappuram. The winner was netted by Shubham Bhowmick in the 61st minute.

Kerala captain Jijo Joseph (No. 7) scored a hat-trick agaisnt Rajasthan in the Santosh Trophy match at Manjeri.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Cheered on by a full house, host Kerala opened its campaign on a winning note at the Santosh Trophy football championship here on Saturday night. Kerala thrashed Rajasthan 5-0, riding on a hat-trick from skipper Jijo Joseph. Nijo Gilbert and Ajay Alex were the other scorers.

Jijo’s first goal put Kerala ahead in the sixth minute. Rajasthan had to pay the price for a tackle on Nijo from just outside the box. The captain’s fine free-kick went past the diving Rajastahan goalkeeper Maninder Singh.

The second goal came off a swift counter-attack, finished off in some style by Nijo, who slammed the ball firmly into the far post from just outside the box. Kerala’s attack grew fiercer in the second half.

WATCH: Kolkata football's bar pujo - what this Bengali football tradition is all about | Poila Baisakh

Earlier, Bengal defeated Punjab 1-0 in the tournament’s opening match at Malappuram. The winner was netted by Shubham Bhowmick in the 61st minute.

Right from the beginning, both sides looked keen to attack and created several opportunities. The deadlock was broken 16 minutes into the second half, as Shubham volleyed in a cross from the right flank; it would turn out to be the winning goal.

The results:

Kerala 5 (Jijo Joseph 6, 58 & 63, Nijo Gilbert 38, Ajay Alex 82) bt Rajasthan 0.

Bengal 1 (Shubham Bhowmick 61) bt Punjab 0.

Sunday’s matches: Odisha v Karnataka (Malappuram) at 4 p.m.; Services v Manipur (Manjeri) at 8 p.m.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :