Punjab qualified from Group B after a win over J&K…
Uttarakhand secured a narrow 1-0 win over Haryana in the Santosh Trophy North Zone Qualifier Group B match played at MLSM College Ground, Sundernagar Himachal Pradesh earlier today.
Haryana coach Hans Ram had brought in Bhavti Chaudhary in place of Manoj Kumar, this was the only change made by him. Uttarakhand coach Arun Negi chose to go with an unchanged starting XI from the last match against Jammu & Kashmir.
Uttarakhand started the match on an attacking note and completely dominated the first 15 minutes. Haryana defenders and keeper Ravit Balhara were seen busy guarding their side and conceded eight corners within 20 minutes. In between these, Uttarakhand came close to scoring thrice. First, Ajay Pal Singh’s shot from the edge of the box rebounded off the crossbar. Next, Shashank Mamgain’s sparkling shot brushed the post and went out for a goal-kick. Later, Raja Rawat tried his luck from distance but Haryana keeper Ravit brilliantly fisted it over the crossbar.
In the later part of the first half, Haryana controlled the match and came up with a series of attacks but Amarjeet’s luck was not on his side. First, his shot from close missed the target by a whisker. Later he was twice denied by keeper Niteshek in the same fashion. At the other end, Ravit made diving efforts to save Raja’s goal bound free-kick from the top of the box.
On crossing over, both the teams looked comfortable with a goalless scoreline and the match was restricted to midfield play. However, in the last quarter, Haryana’s Amarjeet had the best chance of the match to take his side into the lead but he failed to connect from six yards off Balkesh’s cross from the right.
At the other end, Uttarakhand surprised them with a goal. Haryana defender Jaswinder Singh failed to clear Devesh Sajwan’s clearance from his own half. Anuj Rawat took no time to blast the ball from 25 yards which settled in the bottom right corner. In the dying minutes, Anuj had a chance to double Uttarakhand’s lead but he failed to control his chipped shot over advancing keeper Ravit and the ball went out for a goal-kick.
In the other match of the final day, Punjab edged out Jammu & Kashmir 1-0 and qualified from the group. The match witnessed possession football in the first half by both the teams. After a goalless first half, J&K came close to scoring when Nainjot Singh got hold of the ball in front of goal but the winger failed to put power in his shot and the ball went into the hands of Punjab keeper Paramjit Singh. At the other end, Punjab broke the deadlock when J&K defender Aakif Javaid made a blunder to clear the long ball in the box, the ball rolled to well-positioned Rajbir Singh who shot it into the back of the nylons to take Punjab in the final round of the tournament.
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.