West Bengal wins Santosh Trophy 2017 in late extra time
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The eventual winners had remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. . .
The hosts started the match on the better note as they managed to gain the ball from West Bengal footballers in the first minute and shot the ball towards the bottom left corner of the goal but were unsuccessful in scoring.
West Bengal were in with a cautious approach as the Reds kept the ball on the ground and used long balls to get through the hosts’ defence. No.23 had tried an astounding bicycle kick inside the Goan box in the third minute, but the shot went wide.
The hosts quickly returned to the game in the sixth minute as the hosts’ forward Aaren D’Silva picked up a diagonal aerial pass from the heart of the Goan defence and opted for a solo run down the wing. This made things easier for West Bengal defenders as they cleared the ball effectively.
Goa tried to operate and finally dominated the game from the wings, which resulted in a close quarter shot from Goa No. 11 in the 12th minute, but the Bengal goalkeeper retaliated and saved the day for the visitors.
West Bengal footballer Basanta Singh picked up a yellow card in the 24th minute after a rash challenge on a Goan defender. Basanta, however, had put the ball in the back of the net but the referee ruled the goal out citing an offside for the Bengal forward.
Goa looked to be playing a possession-based game which allowed the hosts to play small passes and one-twos in the opponent half and disorganising the Bengal defence into shades at times.
West Bengal took advantage of the physicality among their ranks as Bengal defender Samad Mallick brought down Aaren D’Silva in the 35th minute with a rash challenge on the Goan forward in the left wing. D’Silva was brought out of the field for medical attention as Brian Mascarenhas made his way back to the field in the next minute, restoring normalcy.
With a few minutes left for the conclusion of the first half, West Bengal rushed off to register the first goal of the evening, but the double pivot of Cajetan Fernandes and Leander D’Cunha was successful to break off the attempts made by the visitors.
Young prodigy Bishal Pradhan was brought down in the 43rd minute by Goa’s Raymond Soares in an aerial duel, which led to another wasted chance for the West Bengal team in the dying minutes of the first half.
In the second half, West Bengal came back all guns blazing, looking for a decisive lead over the hosts. However, the Goan footballers held their nerves well as they successfully broke down the West Bengal attacks and went out on few counter attacks themselves.
Goa looked to be shifting their formation to a traditional 3-4-3 from 3-5-2 with Leander going upwards to the opposition box complementing the striking duo of Aaren D’Silva and Raymond Soares.
West Bengal captain Rana Gharami was shown a yellow card in the 55th minute after the Mohammedan SC defender was guilty of a painful tackle on Goa’s Nicolau Colaco who looked to be uncomfortable afterwards. The referee called for a free-kick, but the hosts wasted the set piece yet again.
Goa made the first substitution of the evening as Mateus Costa brought on Akeraj Martens replacing Aaren D’Silva in the 62nd minute. The second change of the night took place just minutes after the first substitution which saw George D’Souza introduced into the game in the 70th minute replacing a partly injured Nicolau Colaco.
Goa wasted yet another set piece in the 76th minute when a George D’Souza free kick was misplaced and went out of the pitch, leaving the scoreline 0-0 at the end.
West Bengal made their first substitution in the 81st minute when u-21 footballer Debasish Pradhan came on for Bishal Pradhan, adding more firepower to the West Bengal squad.
Three minutes of injury time was added by the assistant referee at the end of the second half, in which Goans produced few trophy-deciding attacks but were unsuccessful at the end. As a result, the match went into the extra time.
West Bengal looked even more dangerous in the first half of the injury time as the Reds kept on shelling the Goans’ half. Goa seemed to be unconvincing and went deep to defend against the West Bengal counter attacks. Despite all the attempts, both teams could not capitalise the chances courtesy to the resolute defences and went into the second half of the extra time with the same score-line.
Akhiraj went down with another rash tackle by the West Bengal defenders in early minutes of second-half of the extra time. West Bengal held a high midfield line and continued to press the Goa defence.
West Bengal replaced Debasish Pradhan in the 112th minute with another u-21 player Sannik Murmu. In the 117th minute, Goa made an unexpected substitution when they introduced goalkeeper Melroy Fernandes replacing Glen Mertens on the pitch.
In the next minute, West Bengal forward Manvir Singh went through the Goa defence as he received a high pass from the midfield and shot the ball past Bruno Colaco to score the winning goal for the visitors. Goa failed to capitalise in the following minutes and West Bengal emerged victorious of Santosh Trophy 2017 for the 32nd time.
Published: Sun Mar 26, 2017 09:20 PM IST