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Santosh Trophy

Santosh Trophy 2023-24: Mizoram edge past Kerala in sudden death to set up semi-final clash against Services

Published at :March 5, 2024 at 11:43 PM
Modified at :March 5, 2024 at 11:43 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF Media)

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Manipur will face Goa in the other semi-final match.

The last two quarter-final encounters of the 77th Santosh Trophy went the contrasting way on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, before Manipur and Mizoram emerged winners at the Golden Jubilee Stadium.

On a day when two northeast sides confirmed their fast-growing authority in Indian football, Manipur were the first to make the last four grade with a massive 7-1 triumph over Assam. On the contrary, the next match proved to be a contest of an extended night as Mizoram showed seven-time champions Kerala the exit door with a 7-6 verdict in the sudden death penalty shootout. The regulation time, followed by the 30 minutes of extra time proved futile as neither team could score.

In the semi-finals on Thursday, March 7, 2024, Services will take on Mizoram at 2.30 pm IST, while Manipur will face Goa in the second semifinal at 7 pm IST.

Mizoram triumph Kerala in penalty shootout

A penalty shootout of precision ensued as neither side looked like they were in the mood to miss a penalty, which Mizoram won 7-6.

With the first five of each side having scored their respective spot-kicks, it was all down to sudden death. Kerala’s Sujith VR was the only player to miss his penalty, sending his effort wide.

MC Malsawmzuala, Malsawmfela, FC Lalhmunmawia, Ephraim Lalremtluanga, Lalrinchhana Tochhawng, Lalremruata HP, and Lalbiakthanga Hmar were the scorers for Mizoram, while Sanju G, Arjun V, Mohamed Salim, Riswanali E, Sarath Prasanth, and Jithin G netted their penalties for Kerala. Sujith VR was the only player to miss his penalty.

Earlier, unlike the first match of the day, Mizoram and Kerala were locked in an intensely tactical battle.

Both sides were comfortable with the ball at their feet, but the accuracy of the final pass evaded them. Choked of space in the middle, the defenders looked to play the long balls behind the opposing back lines, which were dealt with.

Chances started coming, however, as Lalthankima’s looping header was tipped over by Kerala keeper Mohammed Azhar, Naresh B found Muhammed Ashiq with a delectable through pass at the other end. The latter whipped a low and hard cross across the face of the Mizoram goal but lacked the crucial touch.

Both sides seemed reluctant to go in at half time without taking the advantage, which caused quite a frenzy of goalmouth actions.

The lemon break allowed the teams to take stock of their respective opponents, as the pace of the game slowed considerably in the second half. Mizoram exerted more control in the Kerala half, while the latter preferred to defend deep, attacking only when the opportunities presented themselves. The match went into extra time.

The tides seem to have turned somewhat in extra time, as Kerala looked to create overloads inside the box. For all their efforts, however, Kerala were restricted to shots from outside the box, which only served to provide some extra exercise to the Manipur substitutes warming up behind the goal.

However, with a semifinal spot at stake, neither side committed much to attack, which meant that the game went into the dreaded penalty shootout.

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