An action packed day of knockout football at the Dumas Beach in Surat, saw Kerala and Punjab emerge from the pack to book their spots in the final of the inaugural National Beach Soccer Championships on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. The two had faced off in the group stages of the tournament, Punjab edging Kerala 6-5 on that occasion.
The day kicked off with the quarterfinals and in the first one Kerala blanked Group A toppers Lakshadweep 5-0 to progress to the semi finals. Punjab beat Jharkhand 6-4 while Uttarakhand ran riot against Arunachal Pradesh winning 13-5. The final quarterfinal saw a gritty Delhi side beat Odisha 3-1 in a shoot out — the teams were tied 3-3 at full time.
The first semifinal, scheduled in the evening saw Kerala and Uttarakhand play out an enthralling encounter. The match remained on knife edge going into the final minute, Uttarakhand having clawed back a three-goal deficit to draw level at 9 goals apiece. In the final 30 seconds of the game though, Kerala scored twice to book their spot in the final.
An equally hard fought second semifinal saw Punjab and Delhi trade goals going into the final stage of play. Sangamdeep Singh’s goal in the penultimate minute of play settled the encounter.
The final day of action will see Uttarakhand play Delhi in the third-place game at 10am IST. Kerala and Punjab will play the final at 4pm IST; the matches will be streamed live on the Indian Football YouTube channel.