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Santosh Trophy

Santosh Trophy 2023-24: Eight top teams set to fight for semi-final spots

Published at :March 3, 2024 at 8:12 PM
Modified at :March 3, 2024 at 8:12 PM
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Out of all 37 teams that started the Santosh Trophy 2023-2024 season, only 8 teams remain.

The 77th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy is at its business end, as we enter the knockout stage, which begins on Monday, March 4, 2024, at the Golden Jubilee Stadium, in Itanagar.

Out of the 37 teams that started the competition, we are now down to the last eight that will fight it out for the top prize of the state championship in India. Services, Goa, Kerala, and Assam have made it from Group A of the Final Round, while Manipur, Mizoram, Delhi, and Railways have qualified from Group B. Let’s take a look at all the matchups in the quarterfinals.

Services vs Railways

It’s a clash between the two traditional institutional sides in the Santosh Trophy, and they will be looking to revive their glories of the past as they move deeper into the competition. Services are six-time champions, while Railways have won the trophy thrice.

Services gearing up for quarterfinals.
Services gearing up for quarter-finals (Image Source: AIFF Media)

Services have been on top form since the start of the 2023-24 Santosh Trophy campaign, having suffered only one solitary defeat against Goa (1-2), and after topping their group will look to make the semis for the third time in the last four editions. Meanwhile, Railways will be looking to make it to the semi-finals for the first time in a decade. Having netted just four in their five matches in Group B, they will need their forwards to be more clinical than they have been so far.

Goa vs Delhi

The clash between Goa and Delhi is again one of two sides that have experienced glories in the past, but have not had much to show far in more recent times. Delhi’s only successful Santosh Trophy campaign came when they won the competition in 1944, while five-time champions Goa’s last title came almost 26 years ago.

Goa before quarterfinals.
Goa before quarter-finals (Image Source: AIFF Media)

The Goans have been fairly prolific in attack, with Necio Maristo Fernandes and Joshua D’Silva netting three apiece in the Final Rounds so far. Delhi, on the other hand, have had as many as seven different scorers in the Final Round so far but will need to mind their backline after conceding 10 goals in five matches.

Manipur vs Assam

The two sides from the Northeast will cross swords on March 5 and have perhaps the least number of titles between themselves. While Manipur have won only one title in 2002-03, Assam are on the lookout for their maiden title.

Manipur have been on sublime form in the Santosh Trophy so far, and are yet to lose a single match this season, including both the Group Stage and the Final Rounds. Sanathoi Meetei has been on hot form, netting 10 goals in the Santosh Trophy so far, four of them coming in the Final Rounds.

Manipur team before quarterfinals.
Manipur team before quarter-finals (Image Source: AIFF Media)

Assam, on the other hand, have had to toil on their way to the quarterfinals. Dipu Mirdha, who had netted seven during the Group Stage, has only scored two in the Final Rounds, and his side will be looking to him to provide more upfront in the quarterfinal against a potent Manipur side.

Mizoram vs Kerala

A lot of the spotlight will be on Kerala as they take on Mizoram in the last quarterfinal on March 5. Kerala, seven-time champions, will have expectations on their shoulders after not making the semi-finals last time. The side from the West Coast have proved to be one of the most stringent teams in the Final Rounds, having let in only two goals so far.

Kerala team before quarter-finals
Kerala team before quarter-finals (Image Source: AIFF Media)

Meanwhile, Mizoram, who won the competition exactly a decade ago, have impressed with their free-flowing game, scoring the highest number of goals (13) in the Final Rounds, despite their highest scorer from the Group Stages, Lalkhawpuimawia (eight goals), not being there in Final Rounds. MC Malsawmzuala (four goals) and Malsawmzuala Tlangte (three goals) have taken up the goalscoring responsibilities in Lalkhawpuimawia’s stead. 

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