Bidyasagar Singh scored the only goal of the game fpr the hosts,
West Bengal progressed into the semi-finals of the 72nd Santosh Trophy as they defeated Chandigarh 1-0 at the Mohun Bagan Athletic Ground, Kolkata in a match played earlier today. It was a solo goal from Bidyashagar Singh which deflected off Chandigarh’s Rahul that gave Bengal all three points on a frustrating day for them.
Bengal had the opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages with a win, while Chandigarh were solely playing for pride having already been knocked out. Bengal captain Jiten Murmu was out with a stomach problem and Rajon Barman came in for him. The hosts started the game brightly and in the 8th minute, set-piece specialist Tirthankar Sarkar struck a free-kick with real venom before Chandigarh’s Nitish Mehra scrambled to save it.
A minute later, Sumit Das had a golden opportunity to put Bengal ahead, but he put his left-footed shot shockingly wide of the target. After mounting a lot of pressure, Bengal went ahead in the 17th minute when Bidyashagar Singh’s shot from a long way out deflected off Chandigarh captain Rahul and floated into the net. The East Bengal academy player threatened again three minutes later as he surged past Chandigarh’s defenders, but his shot was well saved by Mehra.
While Chandigarh put men forward to get the equalizer, Bengal looked dangerous on the counter-attack and produced some good movement, but the final delivery just wasn’t there. Bidyashagar was making great runs forward and got another chance in the 38th minute when a beautiful pass from Tirthankar found him one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but a moment of hesitation saw him fail to dink it over the charging Mehra.
Chandigarh’s defending was a bit shaky and almost gifted a chance to Bengal striker Rajon Barman, but he scuffed the opportunity and wasted a golden chance to score as Bengal went into the break with a bit of frustration at not getting that second goal.
Bengal started the second half on the attack and two minutes into it Rajon Barman made a great turn and struck a nice low shot to force a save from Mehra. Chandigarh finally received a chance in the 56th minute when a lobbed pass forward was brought down by Deepak Kumar, whose attempt sailed over the bar. Das was found with a stunning pass In the 61st minute, but tried too much trickery and saw his curling shot whiz wide of the target.
The hosts created a sweet move in the 67th minute when Rajon played a great one-two with Tonmoy Ghost, but he couldn’t manage to finish it as his attempt was collected well by Mehra. Bengal were playing with fire and five minutes later, Majumder fumbled an easy ball which allowed Vivek Rana to take a shot, that luckily for the hosts went just wide of the mark.
Sarkar looked lively on the day and in the 85th minute his direct corner almost crept into goal when it curled into the net but was tipped over by Mehra. The Bengal captain received another chance to score from a set-piece in the 89th minute, but his vicious shot was saved by Mehra who dived well to his left to parry it out of danger.
Chandigarh created their best chance of the game in the dying minutes when a corner from them met the powerful header of Vivek Rana which bounced off the bar and the rebound shot from Prateek Joshi sailed over the bar. Bengal survived the late scare and secured all three points. A decider between them and Kerala on Tuesday will help us find out who tops Group A in the end.