Category: Santosh Trophy

Santosh Trophy 2018: Kerala shootout Bengal to crown champions

KOLKATA: Kerala defeated defending Champions Bengal 4-2 on penalties after the full-time scoreline read 2-2 to win the 72nd Hero Santosh Trophy at the Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan in Kolkata today (April 01, 2018).

Jithin MS scored in the 19th minute for Kerala while Jiten Murmu drew level in the 68th minute. In extra time, Vibin Thomas first found the net in the 117th minute after Rajon Burman was sent off. Tirthankar scored late into injury time for Bengal to take the game to penalties where Kerala emerged eventual victors.

Bengal were on the attack from the early minutes of the match. Tirthankar Sarkar had two freekick chances from the left side of the area within the first six minutes. While the first one was duly cleared by the Kerala wall, left-back Sreerag G pulled off a goal-line clearance from Monotosh Chakladar’s shot after goalkeeper Midhun V parried it away.

However, it was Kerala who broke the deadlock against the run of play. Jithin Gopalan intercepted a ball in the centre of the park and found Seesan S close by. He then showed some great vision to release Jithin MS on the run. Bengal’s left-back, Abhishek Mukherjee was off his position and with Sourav Dasgupta failing to track the winger, Jithin MS brought up his fifth goal of the tournament by slotting home through goalkeeper Ranajit Majumder’s gates.

All attempts of a comeback from Bengal were thwarted by the southern side. Monotosh Chakladar attempted a header from a set-piece in the 25th minute but went straight to Midhun. Skipper Jiten Murmu tried his luck after the half-hour mark from range but the ball went over the bar.

Afdal VK on the other hand tried to show some trickery in the opposing box but his final shot was poor and wide off target. Tirthankar Sarkar continued to deliver dangerous and powerful freekicks, all of which were defended well by a solid Kerala defence.

Injury time in the first half threw some excitement. First, Bidyashagar Singh ran in and forced a corner after Lijo S deflected his shot. The ensuing flag-kick was cleared and Rahul KP initiated a counter-attack. Anurag PC ran with the ball close to 50 yards and triggered Jithin MS on the right. Ranajit thankfully got a touch to his cross which resulted in Afdal VK losing his momentum and the striker took a hard fall in front of an empty net as his shot went over. Kerala led at half-time by a solitary goal to nil.

The first bit of real action after the change of ends came a minute past the hour mark. Afdal VK turned the other way and played a backheel for Jithin MS, whose low cross was squandered by Anurag PC in the box.

Bengal woke up from their slumber after that and put the foot on the gas. Ankit Mukherjee floated a long ball in the 66th minute and Jiten Murmu’s header went wide. A couple of minutes later, the home side drew level courtesy their captain Murmu. Monotosh Chakladar headed down a long ball and substitute Rajon Barman broke through to feed the striker who found the back of the net with a delectable left-footer, to level matters.

Jithin Gopalan missed a glaring chance in the 83rd minute with Sourav Dasgupta coming off with a clean tackle. Afdal missed another chance with two minutes to go with Ranajit off his line and both Bengal defenders combining to clear the ball with the goalkeeper absent. The scoreline was tied 1-1 at full-time.

Visibly tired, both teams slowed down in the thirty minutes.Kerala had the numerical advantage in the last eight minutes when Rajon Burman was sent off in the 112th minute. Sandip Bhattacharjee sprinted down to the end to play a through ball to Rajon. The striker’s second touch was poor and the ball went too ahead of him. Midhun came out to collect the ball only to have Rajon’s boot hit his face, for which referee Crystal John did not hesitate to produce the red card.

The second goal came in the 117th minute as Kerala took advantage of the extra man and Jestin George’s cross from the left was headed home by Vibin Thomas. However, Tirthankar Sarkar had other plans when he converted from a freekick from 25 yards in the sixth minute of injury time, taking the game to a shootout after both teams were tied at 2-2.

Ankit Mukherjee and Nabi Hussain Khan missed the first two penalties for Bengal as Midhun V saved both. Tirthankar Sarkar and Sanchayan Samadder’s conversion did not help as Kerala had a cent percent record with Rahul V Raj, Jithin Gopalan and Jestin George all scoring. For the final kick, Jiten Murmu took on the gloves but Seesan S shot past the striker to deliver Kerala the Hero Santosh Trophy.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Bengal, Kerala set for final showdown

KOLKATA: Bengal and Kerala are both aiming to end a remarkable Hero Santosh Trophy campaign by winning the title when they face off in the championship clash at Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday (April 1, 2018).

These are two of the most successful teams in the 72-year history of the competition, with Bengal unrivalled on 32 titles and Kerala five-time winners.

Bengal eased Karnataka in a nervy semifinal encounter as two of the veterans in the side Jiten Murmu and Tirthankar Sarkar scored for Bengal to set-up a meeting with Kerala after they beat Mizoram 1-0 in their semifinal.

Kerala have emerged the overwhelming favourites at the tournament thus far, but face their biggest test yet in a Bengal team that knows all about them, having faced the Southern outfit earlier in a redundant Group A game.

Kerala managed a 1-0 win in the meeting at Mohun Bagan Ground but Bengal Head Coach Ranjan Chowdhury feels the final clash is a different game altogether.

Bengal, who will carry the advantage of being the home side, have built their success around a solid defence that has only conceded two goals so far in the tournament, while they have relied heavily on the star quality of Jiten Murmu at the other end.

“There is absolutely no pressure on the team. The team has confidence in it’s ability to win the final against Kerala,” said Ranjan Chowdhury.

Speaking about the opponents he said, “Kerala is a very strong and organized team. They are very strong defensively and got many talented players. Whoever wins tomorrow needs to earn the trophy by playing well.”

Nearly half of the Bengal squad are playing their first Santosh Trophy, with many of them in their early 20s and there are only four survivors from the team that won the title under Mridul Banerjee last year Ankit Mukherjee, Ranajit Majumder, Sourav Das Gupta and Manotosh Chakladar.

Kerala have not won the trophy since 2005 and lost on penalties to Services in the final five years ago at home in Kochi.

Satheevan Balan’s charges have seemed like a side on a mission to end their title drought and have been a joy to catch in the tournament with excellent team work display.

The Southern outfit are quick off the blocks on both flanks with a solid midfield marshalled by Seesan S and Jithin Gopalan. The strike pair of Afdal VK and Anurag PC can tear apart any defense on their day.

“I am very happy with the progress of my team, which has shown great improvement match after match. We have a great deal of respect for Bengal but I know my players are capable of winning the title.” Satheevan Balan said.

For many a fan, Kerala is the favourite to win the ultimate at the ten-team tournament, but Satheevan Balan not reday to give ear to that assertion insisting Bengal have an equal chance of being crowned champions.

“We are not favourites. Since we arrived here, we take every game as a final and against Bengal will be same. We will put in our best to make sure we win. We have an idea of the Bengal team having played them earlier in the tournament but we are talking of the final and surely it will be different,” he added.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Kerala edge Mizoram to enter final

KOLKATA: Five-time champions Kerala made it to the final of the 72nd Santosh Trophy with a 1-0 win over Mizoram in the semi-final match held at the Mohun Bagan Ground on Friday (March 20, 2018).

Substitute Afdal VK’s goal in the 54th minute upturned the Mizoram cart, who certainly were the better team on the day. Thereby, Kerala reached their first final since the 2012/13 edition of the tournament.

Given the nature of the tie, both sides started off cautiously. However, Mizoram showed much more promise especially Lalbiakhlua who managed to get the game going from the right flank.

Within ten minutes, Mizoram were winning all sorts of set-pieces but Lalnuntluanga’s free-kick ricocheted off the wall, while Hming Thanmawia’s effort went over the bar.

Lal Romawia could not add to his four goals in the tournament when he swivelled in from around 17 yards as Midhun V made an outstretched save, diving to his right after the quarter hour mark.

Mizoram had a golden opportunity in the 33rd minute to get the lead but Romawia missed from closed range. Lalrinpuia’s shot forced Midhun to fist the ball out but the North-Eastern side could not take advantage from the goalmouth melee.

Kerala’s only bright chance in the first half was Rahul KP’s miss from the edge of the box on the volley. Such incompetence in the first half prompted Balan to usher in striker Afdal VK for an ineffective Sajith Poulose just before the whistle.

That substitution paid immense dividends nine minutes after the change of ends. Collecting the ball from a diagonal pass, Jithin MS made a darting run from the right and cut in to dodge past two men. Rahul KP shot from his square pass but ‘keeper Laltanpuia Ralte parried it off. Afdal VK, unmarked took his chance from the rebound and slotted the ball home to give Kerala the lead against the run of play.

The setback caused some panic amongst the Mizoram ranks but they had no one to look for inspiration in the dugout with their coach absent from the touchline. Both strikers, Lal Rammawia and Malsawmzuala MC were brought on and the former champions came closest in the 81st minute.

 

Kerala held on to enter a Trophy final after four years, their fourteenth overall. The five-time champions will now face 32-time winners, defending champions and hosts Bengal in the ultimate showdown on Sunday (April 1, 2018).

Santosh Trophy 2018: Bengal blank Karnataka 2-0 to set up Kerala date in final

HOWRAH: Defending champions Bengal moved past Karnataka 2-0 on Friday (March 30, 2018) at the Sailen Manna Stadium in Howrah to set-up a title clash against Kerala in the Santosh Trophy 2018.

Skipper Jiten Murmu and Tirthankar Sarkar scored in the 57th and 90+2nd minute respectively for reigning champions.

Bengal started as the better side but not before long, Karnataka took control of the game. Bengal Head Coach Ranjan Chowdhury deployed Jiten Murmu and Bidyashagar Singh upfront but the duo’s impact was arguably below par, at least in the first 45 minutes.

In the 17th minute, Sukesh Leon of Karnataka hit the woodwork with a header that took Bengal’s goalkeeper, Ranajit Majumder by surprise. The young shot-stopper then followed with two great saves to keep Bengal into the game.

Meanwhile, Bengal had a close chance of their own in the 36th minute through Sumit Das, who covered a lot of ground after getting the ball from midfield but the winger could not keep his effort on target from inside the box. Five minutes later, Bengal had another opportunity but Jiten’s header went wide.

Towards the end, Karnataka made two significant attempts through S. Rajesh and Sukesh, but both efforts produced nothing as the first half ended goalless.

Changing over, both teams seemed keen to make an early impression, but it was Bengal who secured the all-important opening goal in the 57th minute though Jiten. Sumit was given far too much time to line up a shot as he bore down on the Karnataka penalty area, but his fierce effort was adroitly palmed away by Karnataka keeper Shaikhan CP but Jiten was at the right place at right time to slot home from the rebound.

Despite the goal, or perhaps because of it, the match continued to be played on a high tempo. Free-kicks from wide areas for Bengal continued to be an outlet towards the goal as the hosts dominated two thirds of possession in the second half.

Having missed a few half chances, Bengal went extremely close in the 74th minute when Tirthankar played a through ball to Bidyashagar but the teenage striker could not reach to the ball.

Meanwhile, Karnataka also pushed hard for a late equaliser, Shamanth Dodda joined Rajesh in the forward line but Karnataka could find no way through an imperious defence and it was Bengal who looked more likely to score.

Thereafter, Bengal continued to dominate proceedings but had to wait till additional time to get their second. Jiten with a brilliant run on the right got past his marker but was brought down on the edge of the box when he was about to pull the trigger, which earned Bengal a free-kick and Tirthankar made no mistake to put the ball into the back of the net to confirm Bengal’s place in the final.

The 32-time winners, defending champions and hosts Bengal will now face 5-time champions Kerala in the ultimate battle on Sunday (April 1, 2018).

Santosh Trophy 2018: Kerala, Mizoram square off for a final berth

KOLKATA: In what many fans believe is the real 72nd Santosh Trophy championship clash, Kerala and Mizoram will square off in Mohun Bagan Ground on Friday (March 30, 2018) for a spot in final.

Kerala have been dominant since the start of the competition. The former five-time champions started off with a victory over Chandigarh before beating Manipur, Maharashtra and hosts Bengal in subsequent matches.

The Satheevan Balan coached side is not only the highest scoring side in the competition but they also holds the best defensive record. Kerala have scored 15 goals enroute to the semifinal and in bargain just conceded once.

Many experts have not only put Kerala as favorites to win this encounter but to also win the entire thing. However, Mizoram are not a side to write off easily, and Kerala coach Satheevan Balan has warned his side against complacency or looking beyond Mizoram to a possible final against Bengal or Karnataka on Sunday.

“Mizoram is one of the best teams in the tournament. I believe it be an intense match with a lot of pressure. There are several things that we are working on and hopefully during the game it will work,” said Satheevan Balan.

Kerala last won the Santosh Trophy in 2005, and will fancy their chances of a first title in the current decade if they can overcome the North Easterners.

Mizoram, have shown improvement with each game. Altough they lost their last Group B against Karnataka, but they rested as many eight of their regular starters, in a bid to keep them fresh and all of them will be handed starts in the semifinal.

Mizoram coach Lalsangzuala Hmar has made it clear that he would be expecting a challenging encounter with Kerala, but he is unfazed by the pedigree of the Southern outfit.

“We have a lot of respect for Kerala but we are ready to face them. We need to keep our composure and I am positive that the players will rise to the occasion,” he said.

The 2016 Mizoram Premier League winning coach hopes that his side can recover in time and turn up with the goods against Kerala who have had the luxury of an extra day to recover before the big fixture.

“It is not the ideal recovery period before a big game but we are going to keep that aside and focus on the job ahead,” he added.

This will probably be a open game, with two coaches who prefer a free-flowing attacking football. Therefor, it promises to be a very absorbing game of football and it’s one of those games where the finest details will surely decide the final outcome for the match.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Bengal ready to battle surprise package Karnataka in the semifinal

HOWRAH: Bengal will battle aganist surprise package Karnataka in the 72nd Santosh Trophy semifinal at the Sailen Manna Stadium in Howrah on Friday (March 30, 2018). The match kicks-off at 2:30 PM.

Karnataka’s presence in the semifinal could hardly have been expected at the start of the tournament. Yet they fully deserve to step out against Bengal, who will start as favourites.

The defending champions Bengal began their final round campaign with a comprehensive victory over Manipur followed by easy wins over Maharashtra and Chandigarh, before losing their final group game against Kerala.

However, Bengal coach Ranjan Chowdhury does not seem to be effeted by the defeat that came right before the semifinal, as the former striker stays confident ahead of the pre-summit clash and fancy his team’s chances against Karnataka.

“A semifinal match is more tricky than the final itself because when you lose it, it becomes a matter of so close yet so far. It’s an important game but end of the day, it’s just another game and we need to play good football to win.” Ranjan Chowdhury said on the eve of the clash.

Measuring the opponents strength he added, “Karnatka is a good team, they qualified for the semifinals due to their quality.”

“Karnataka has a lot of good players, we expect a very tough game, physically very demanding. So, we must prepare well. Several players of Karnataka appear in the 2nd Divsion League League. They are physically dominant, fast, strong and will be a good opponent. It is for us to achieve a positive result.”

On the other hand, Karnataka, who won the Santosh Trophy last time in 1968/69 as Mysore, topped the Group B after beating teams such as Goa, Odisha and Mizoram. Karnataka’s success in the competition has been based on their dogged determination and defensive organisation, which make up for their lack of fire power upfront.

While Karnataka will be trying to continue their fairytale, Coach P. Muralidharan is thinking much more pragmatically and is concerned about the fast and furious nature of the tournament. Bengal will certainly have a slight edge as they have the advantage of an extra day rest ahead of the match.

“We have young players hungry to play and keen to win. Now that we have reached the semifinals, anything can happen,” said P. Muralidharan.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Karnataka complete semifinal line-up

KOLKATA: Karnataka ended their 72nd Santosh Trophy Group B campaign with a 1-0 win over Mizoram to book a final four spot at the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata on Wednesday (MARCH 28, 2018).

Rajesh S scored the solitary goal in the game in the 74th minute. The result meant Karnataka ended up topping the group, edging Mizoram on their superior head to head record. Mizoram too advanced to the semi-finals as the runners up from Group B.

The Southern state started off brightly with Leon Augustine, the right winger and striker Rajesh S. creating a host of opportunities, although wasteful. Mizoram goalkeeper Andrew Lalhmingliana made two good stops in the first ten minutes itself.

Mizoram’s first good chance arrived in the 13th minute when Malsawmzuala MC’s freekick could only be headed inches over the bar by Lalrammawia. A minute later, Rajesh S broke on the counter and played a diagonal ball to Augustine. The winger then found his skipper Vignesh Gunashekar outside the box but his shot too, went over.

Lalmuanzova was a menace down the right flank. Winning a corner from Lalrammawia’s pass, his flagkick was well headed forward by defender Lalmuanawma on the edge of the box. Malsawmzuala MC attempted an overhead bicycle kick which failed to pay dividends, all within twenty minutes of the game.

Karnataka custodian Shainkhan CP was forced into making a quick save from Lalmuanzova’s angled shot and Sukesh Leon tracked back to make a goal line clearance from the ensuing corner.

Rajesh S and Leon Augustine made life tough for the Mizoram backline but they held on well. Lalhmingliana appeared to be a bit slippery while collecting balls but the goalkeeper ensured that his sides did not concede any as the deadlock was yet to be broken in the first half.

Seven minutes into the second half, Mizoram got yet another opportunity from Muanzova’s corner kick. Malsawmzuala MC flicked the ball past the ‘keeper who was off his line but Shahabaaz Khan made a goal line clearance.

On the counter, Lithon Shil played a one-two with Leon Augustine on the run and the latter, who took a swipe from 19 yards saw his curling shot only nestle the top-netting.

All those chances yielded success in the 74th minute when Sukesh Leon’s flag-kick resulted in a goalmouth melee but Rajesh S, showing great presence of mind slotted the ball from close space.

Behind by a goal, frustration showed for Mizoram as the head coach Lalsangzuala Hmar was sent to the stands for arguing with the referee and then Malsawmzuala MC too went into the book for a rough tackle.

Lalromawia was brought in with four minutes left in regulation time but the midfielder, who had scored four goals in the tournament so far failed to live upto the expectations.

Both sides finished with nine points each from four games but Karnataka won the group. Mizoram face Kerala while Karnataka set up a date against hosts Bengal in the semis on March 30.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Goa knock Punjab out of Santosh Trophy

HOWRAH: 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 lost two out of their previous three matches against Mizoram and Karnataka, needed to win the match 3-0 or bigger and hope Karnataka to lose by atleast 3-0 against Mizoram to qualify, but there was to be no miracle as Karnataka beat Mizoram 1-0 to take the top spot in Group B.

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+7th).

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 59thminute 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 minute 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.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Kerala stay perfect in Group A

KOLKATA: Kerala topped Group A when they beat reigning champions Bengal 1-0 in the ongoing 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Mohun Bagan ground on Tuesday (March 27, 2018).

Rahul KP was the man who got the winning goal from Jithin MS’ cross I the 90th minute. The two teams had already made the semi-finals.

Bengal dominated proceedings initially and enjoyed better ball possession. They got the first major chance to break the deadlock in the 6th minute when attacking midfielder Sandip Bhattacharjee attempted a volley inside the box but the ball went just above the crossbar.

Kerala won a free-kick just outside Bengal’s penalty box in the 13th minute after Jithin MS was brought down. It was their first major chance to score but Lijo S’ shot sailed above the crossbar.

The home side squandered the easiest chance of the first half in the 33rd minute when Sujay Dutta failed to tap the ball in from a handshaking distance. Sandip initiated the move with a through ball for Bidyasagar Singh on the right side of the box. The winger squared the ball for Dutta but he failed to push the ball into the back of the net.

At the stroke of half time, Bengal missed yet another chance. Rajon Barman received a pass from Sandip and forwarded a through ball inside the box eyeing Sourav Dasgupta’s run but Kerala custodian Hajmal S came out of his line in time and collected the ball.

In the 56th minute, the visitors got an opportunity to score the opening goal. Prolific goalscorer Jithin MS received but failed to convert from a one on one position as Ranajit Majumder came out of his line and saved the ball.

Kerala got yet another chance to score in the 69th minute when Afdal failed to trap Jithin’s cross from the right. The striker was inside the six yards’ box but failed to control the ball with his chest as Bengal defenders cleared it.

Bengal’s top scorer Bidysagar Singh came very close to score a goal in the 81st minute when he entered the opponent’s box with a solo run dribbling past three defenders. He attempted to square the ball from a narrow-angle but not a single Bengal player was present in front of the goal to tap the ball into the back of the net.

Kerala scored the winning goal in the 90th minute thanks to a strike from Rahul KP. Jithin MS ran down the right flank and sent a low cross inside the box. Rahul received and pushed the ball into the net.

Kerala reach the semifinals as toppers from the group with 12 points from 4 matches while Bengal finish second with 9 points from 3 matches.

Santosh Trophy 2018: Maharashtra put seven past Manipur to finish campaign

HOWRAH: Maharashtra came from behind twice to thrash Manipur 7-2 in their final group phase match of the 72nd Santosh Trophy on Tuesday (March 27, 2018) at the Sailen Manna Stadium in Howrah.

The big win was powered by a hat-trick from Ranjeet Singh (59th, 77th and 90th minute) along with goals from Sahil Bhokare (28th), Nikhil Prabhu (75th), Kiran Pandhare (86th) and Naqiur Ansari (90+3rd). Meanwhile, Chanso Horam (17th) and Dhananjoy Singh (40th) were the scorers for Manipur.

The match was all about pride as it was a dead-rubber in Group A, with both sides having been eliminated after suffering crushing defeats to Bengal and Kerala earlier in the tournament.

Manipur were firmly in control right from the start as they created the first chance in the 7th minute through Jerry Pulamte but the striker could not keep his effort on target from Netrajit Singh’s pass.

Three minutes later, Maharashtra had a chance of their own as Kiran played an excellent ball to Siddhart Colaco beside him in space before the latter released Naqiur on the left, but the ball was overplayed.

Meanwhile, Manipur took the lead just past 15th minute mark when Chanso slotted past Aditya Mishra after receiving the ball from Ngangbam Naocha.

The goal stunned Maharashtra momentarily but they did not lose hope and continued to play attacking football. Maharashtra equalised in the 28th minute when Sahil scored with a brilliant volley.

However, Manipur regained their lead five minutes before the interval when Dhananjoy scored from the spot after Jerry was fouled inside the box by Subham Mane.

Manipur restarted the game quickly and positively sending numbers forward to force the Manipur backline open. The North Easterners maintained their lines for only 14 minutes before Ranjeet’s long-range shot found the net after taking a deflection.

After continuous pressure, Maharashtra finally managed to take the lead in the 75th minute. Advit Shinde dispossessed an opponent on the left and ran free before beating a defender and crossing the ball to substitute Nikhil inside the box on the right. The defender controlled and hammered home a low attempt at the first post to put his team ahead.

In the final quarter, there was a flurry of goals as Maharashtra managed to find the net four times.

First it was Ranjeet who finished off a brilliantly crafted move in the 77th minute before setting up Kiran in the 86th minute. Ranjeet then completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute from Mrunal Tandel’s pass. Naqiur then rounded off the goal scoring tally in additional time from Advit’s pass.

The result meant Maharashtra finished their campaign on thrid place in Group A with 6 points while Manipur took the wooden spoon after garnering just one point from four matches.

The 72nd Santosh Trophy will wrap up its first round with the final Group B matches on Wednesday, as Mizoram take on Karnataka and Punjab battle Goa.