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Chandigarh qualify for the final round of the Santosh Trophy

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Himachal hand Delhi their third defeat in the tournament...

Chandigarh qualified from Group B as they blanked out Uttar Pradesh 2-0 in the Santosh Trophy North Zone Qualifier match played at MLSM College Ground, Sundernagar Himachal Pradesh earlier today.

UP coach Bhairab Dutt made only one change to his side which lost the last match against Himachal Pradesh as U21 Anand Pal was introduced in place of Saddam Hussain. The Chandigarh coach named an unchanged starting XI like the previous match.

Chandigarh took control of the match from the very first minute as their left winger Akash Sangwan curled the ball in the box to Amandeep Singh but UP defender Ritesh Kumar cleared it before the striker could reach it. in the very next minute, Amandeep saw his powerful shot from the top of the box go wide by a few inches. He was in the action again when he nicely sent a cross into the box from the right flank but Girik Khosla’s diving efforts were not enough to connect the ball from in front of an empty goal.

However, Chandigarh did not take long to open their tally when Akash curled a perfect cross to Amandeep at the far corner who in turn passed the ball to Gagan Kalyan with a header. Gagan calmly tapped the ball home from close distance to sent their supporters into celebration.

A minute before half-time, Chandigarh doubled their lead through Girik. He collected a loose ball in the opponent’s area, covered some ground and smartly guided the ball into the back of the nylons from the edge of the box. At the other end, Chandigarh keeper Harprital Singh came up with a fantastic save to deny UP striker Ballu Verma from close. In first half added time, Chandigarh’s Akash had a good opportunity to inflate their lead but his flick from 10 yards was brilliantly saved by UP custodian Satish Kumar.

Chandigarh were comfortable with a two-goal lead and tried to control the match by keeping possession. In between that, they came close to scoring on many occasions but UP's defense stood strong. While, UP never looked interested in the match and never tried to reduce the margin. They were more inclined towards damage limitation than a comeback victory. However, in the last few minutes, UP coach Bhairad made some changes to get sharper in attack but it was too late for them and the match finished in Chandigarh’s favour.  

In Day 4’s second match, Himachal Pradesh edged past Delhi 1-0. The all-important goal of the match was scored by Himachal skipper Bali Gagandeep in the 4th minute. In the last few minutes of the match Delhi had a golden chance to equalise but their midfielder Dheeraj Singh shot wide with Himachal keeper Manir Singh totally out of position. This win did not make any difference to Himachal’s position as Chandigarh have already qualified from the group.

 

Report by Khel Now Correspondent Ravish Narvekar from Goa. A true Football enthusiast & a diehard Liverpool fan. Ravish also enjoys travelling & he's an avid foodie.

Published: Sat Dec 31, 2016 09:46 PM IST

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