Santosh Trophy: Karnataka too hot for Andhra Pradesh

Karnataka, the 2018 semifinalist, ran riot in the 5-0 win over Andhra Pradesh in the South Zone qualifiers for the 73rd Santosh Trophy.

Karnataka's Manvir Singh goes for the header.   -  Rayan Razario

Last year’s semifinalist Karnataka played tactfully right through to oust Andhra Pradesh 5-0 in the South Zone qualifiers of the Santosh Trophy at the Bharathi Stadium here on Tuesday.

Andhra displayed grit and determination against Tamil Nadu the other day. So, it came as a shocker to see the team going down by a big margin. One expected the Karnataka boys to take some time to settle down as they were playing for the first time at this venue.

READ | Fancied Kerala starts with a goalless draw

It was only for a couple of minutes they looked rusty but from there went full throttle. They studied the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses pretty quickly and went for the hunt. Andhra defended well but the pressure applied by Karnataka was so much that it gave in midway through. A silly mistake in defence in the 32nd minute and Leon Augustine had put Karnataka in the lead.

It did jolt Andhra but it hung on to go into the half time break with a one-goal deficit. The second half was quite balanced but a double jolt in the form of penalties, for having tackled from behind inside the box, in the second half sealed the team’s fate.

It all happened in the space of ten minutes as Sunil Kumar and Manvir Singh, who took the shots, made no mistake. With a 3-0 lead in the bag, Karnataka further went for the kill and struck two more through Shafeel and Nikhil Raj in the additional minutes to finish the day in style.

Karnataka’s coach D. Manivannan was thrilled with the way his boys played. “It’s not over still. We have a match to go against Tamil Nadu and I want them to play in a similar fashion.

He had chalked out a simple strategy for his boys -- holding the ball and creating the rhythm in the first session and thereafter changing the pattern to flow from the wings.

Andhra’s coach Mohammed Zakeer Hussain was disappointed but said it was a job well done by his boys. “They played well but they were one better.”

The result

Karnataka 5 (Leon Augustine 32, Sunil Kumar 73, Manvir Singh 83, P.P. Shafeel 91, Nikhil Raj 93) bt Andhra Pradesh 0.

Tomorrow’s match: Kerala vs.Pondicherry, 9 a.m.; Services vs. Telangana 3 p.m.


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