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Goa thump Punjab, Karnataka edge Mizoram to reach semi-finals in Santosh Trophy


The west coast state thrashed the northerners wiby four goals while Karnataka rode on a single goal to the last four after a win against Mizoram.

Goa knocked Punjab out of the 72nd Santosh Trophy with a 4-1 win in their last Group B match played at the Sailen Manna Stadium in Howrah on Tuesday (March 28, 2018).

Goa who led 2-0 at half time scored through Mackroy Peixoto (25th minute), Victorino Fernandes (28th), Nestor Dias (59th) and Shubert Perreira (67th) before Punjab pulled a goal back through Gurtej Singh (90+4th).

Goa dominated the match from the start and Moses Anthony was the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Moses denied Kapil Hoble, before blocking Nestor's effort within the first 10 minutes of the game. Punjab did threaten in the 17th minute, but Baltej Singh's shot was well saved by Goa keeper Melroy Fernandes.

Having missed a host of chances, Goa finally pulled ahead through Mackroy, who converted from the spot after Shubert was brought down inside the box.

Goa then doubled their lead within just three minutes though their skipper Victorino as the former India international scored a blinder after receiving a pass from Nestor.

Meanwhile, after the two teams broke on the half hour mark for a brief cooling break, Punjab emerged with much more attacking flair and should have been halved the deficit three minutes later when Jitender Rawat was unmarked at the back post but missed his shot from just yards out.

A snap effort from Parmjit Singh in the 42nd minute was also off target, as was Amandeep Singh's hard strike just before the break.

Goa continued their dominance in the second half as Moses had to come out quickly to deny Victorino after a heavy first touch in the 54th minute. Goa did get their third in the 59th minute when Nestor scored with a left-footed shot from Kapil's pass.

Kamaldeep Singh, who replaced Sukhjit Singh, turned and unleashed a shot which was deflected, and it was easily saved by Melroy in the 64th minute as Punjab looked for a comeback.

However, Goa added their fourth in the 67th to finish off the game. Peter Carvalho set up Subert from a corner who made it 4-0 to Goa with a brilliant header.

Punjab pushed for a late consolation goal in the closing stages of the game and succeeded through Gurtej Singh in the 90+7th minute after Kamaldeep failed in his effort from spot in the 90th minute.

The result meant Goa (6 points) ended their campaign in third place behind leaders Karnataka (9 points) and Mizoram (9 points), while Punjab finished just above the wooden spooners Odisha with 6 points.

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Karnataka met with Mizoram in the last match of Group B in the Santosh Trophy final phase on Wednesday at the Mohun Bagan club ground in Kolkata. Mizoram, who have already qualified for the semi-finals rested a whole bunch of starters to test their bench strength. Meanwhile, Karnataka suffered a bitter defeat to Punjab in their last fixture and were looking at this match as a knockout game.

Karnataka made sure that their intent was clear right from the start as coach Muralidharan's men started brightly. Young midfielder Leon Augustine has been a revelation for the Blue outfit since the tournament began as the #8 produced another instrumental performance on Wednesday. Forwards Rajesh and Liton Shil started well but failed to convert their chances as the game developed.

Mizoram did claw their way back into the game courtesy of their wingers, who injected the much-needed pace and rhythm into their gameplay. They looked to be missing the likes of Lalromawia, Lalremruata at some points in the game, but the Mizoram coach decided to rest his important players to keep them fresh ahead of the crucial semi-finals. 

The story in the second half was more of the same, as both teams came close to scoring early on. The Mizo forwards were putting severe pressure on the Karnataka defence and they managed to stretch the back fourbut the final ball was something that both teams lacked. It was a gruelling display form both sides who produced end-to-end football throughout the game.

Karnataka gradually held more of the ball and were looking for slow build-ups, whereas Mizoram waited to hit them on the counter. Karnataka were rewarded for their constant efforts as their main man upfront scored the all-important goal in the 74th minute to hand his team the lead.

Rajesh's goal allowed Karnataka to sit back and concentrate more on their defence as they knew that the Mizo players will look to pounce on whatever chance they get in front of goal. Despite being a goal behind, the Mizos showed excellent character as they tirelessly made forward runs in search of an equaliser. Karnataka, on the other hand, were more interested in holding on to their lead as the result meant that Muralidharan and his men are going to the semis.

Published: Wed Mar 28, 2018 08:54 PM IST


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