Bidyashagar Singh brace sunk the Maharashtra ship in style.
Bengal put in a stellar second-half performance to rout Maharashtra 5-1 in their second Group A fixture of the 72nd Santosh Trophy on Wednesday at the Sailen Manna Sports Complex in Howrah. The win took Bengal’s tally to 6 points from 2 games.
West Bengal kicked off the match right from where the left against Manipur. The r champions were dominant with possession early on and they controlled the flow of play. Meanwhile, Maharashtra sat back in defence and looked for opportunities to threaten the defence on counter-attacks.
Despite controlling the game, Maharashtra had some pacy wingers who were causing serious problems to the Bengal defence. Maharashtra got a corner out of nowhere and midfielder Leander Dhramai’s calm finish handed the visitors a precious lead as early as in the 8th minute.
Maharashtra were solid at the back as the visitors kept attackers like Jiten Murmu and Sumit Das at bay. However, Bengal had a golden opportunity when winger Bidyasagar Singh’s quick burst of pace caught the defenders off guard and the youngster’s pinpoint cross found Murmu in the final third, but the Bengal skipper missed a sitter in front of an open net.
Both teams had some half chances but none of the players could capitalize on them. Bengal definitley had more of the possession but Maharashtra havd the very important lead into halftime.
Despite being a goal down Bengal came flying out of the blocks in the second half. They kept moving forward in search of a goal and they did find the equaliser from a corner when Bidyasagar’s shot was parried by the Maharashtra goalkeeper but defender Montosh Chakladar was at the right place to find the back of the net. Maharashtra shot-stopper Manav had to be stretchered off and Faizan Akhtar took his place under the bar.
A few minutes later, winger Sumit Das’ surging run and brilliant cross found Jiten Murmu inside the box. The Bengal skipper headed the ball home but the forward was judged offside. Bengal kept pressing the Maharashtra defence and they went ahead from Tithankar Sarkar’s corner as Murmu finally scored after missing several chances.
Bengal seemed a completely different side thereafter as they pushed ahead and right-back Ankit Mukherjee’s ball was fumbled by the Maharashtra custodian and Bidyasagar was at the right place to inflate the lead.
The match slowly turned into a humiliation for Maharashtra as the Bengal players really looked like pouncing on each and every chance they get. Soon, Tirthankar released Bidyasagar on the right flank as the Maharashtra defence was completely wide open. The young winger showcased his blistering pace and ended the move with a great finish from distance.
It was clear from their play that the Maharashtra players were waiting for the final whistle, but substitute Ranjon Burman scored a stunning long-ranger right in the dying minutes of the match to pile on the misery for the visitors.
Chandigarh and Manipur played out a 1-1 draw in their second match of the 72nd Santosh Trophy 2017-18 at the Rabindra Sarobar on Wednesday. Ngangbam Naocha scored the opening goal for Manipur in the 25th minute with Vivek Rana equalising for Chandigarh in the 65th minute.
Manipur coach Ratan Elangbam made four changes to the starting XI which went down 0-3 against Bengal on Monday. Manoharmayum Aboy Sharma, Netrajit Singh, L.S Hiisupulu, Thoudam Ngouba Meitei came in place of Ningon Chihang, Tondomba Singh, Oinam Premeshwor Singh, Sushil Kumar Singh.
Sandeep Singh, on the other hand, made just one change in the Chandigarh lineup which suffered a 1-5 defeat against Kerala in their previous match. Pankaj Singh came in place of Deepak Kumar.
Chandigarh dominated the game but had to settle with a draw
Chandigarh were in control of the game right from the word go and dominated possession. Midfielder Barjinderpal Singh came very close to breaking the deadlock as early as in the 9th minute of the match but unfortunately for him, the ball hit the crossbar and came back.
Sandeep Singh’s men commanded the game but failed to make an impact in the attacking third as Manipur scored the opening goal of the match in the 25th minute. Nagamba Naocha received a through ball at the edge of the box and slotted the home comfortably. It was a brilliantly orchestrated counter-attack which caught the Chandigarh defence napping.
Chandigarh came very close to restore parity in the game at the stroke of halftime. Skipper Pawandeep Singh curled a quality free-kick on target but credit to Manipuri custodian Salam Singh who kept the ball out as the Manipur led 1-0 at half-time.
The Northern side began the second half with greater intensity as they looked hungry for an equaliser. They opened the goal mouth on quite a few occasions but as usual, lacked the firepower in the final third.
Finally, in the 65th they found the equaliser thanks to a strike from Vivek Rana. The winger received a low cross from the right flank and easily found the back of the net much to his side’s relief. Thereafter Manipur never showed the intensity to score one more as Chandigarh maintained the pressure but were unable to find the winner.
Manipur and Chandigarh remain at the bottom of Group A after splitting points in this game. Manipur next face Kerala on Friday, March 23 while Chandigarh meet Maharashtra on the same day.