Friday , April 12 2024

Manipur move to the top of Group B; Mizoram & Railways register wins!

Manipur climbed to the top of Group B in the Final Round of Santosh Trophy 2024, after defeating defending champions Karnataka 1-0 at the Golden Jubilee Stadium, in Itanagar, on Monday, February 26, 2024.

The side from the Northeast have now collected seven points from their three games, and are three points clear atop Group B. Ngangbam Pacha Singh scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 50th minute.

While Manipur held more possession of the ball, Karnataka looked to work the ball out wide and create an overload in the box for the crosses. However, it were the former who thought they had taken the lead in the 21st minute when Kabiraj Singh chipped a through ball to seasoned campaigner Singam Subash Singh, who slipped the ball past the Karnataka keeper to put the ball in the net. However, the assistant referee flagged him offside; replays suggested that he was ahead of the Manipur defence by a shoulder.

Karnataka had their best chance just ahead of the half-time break, when Godwin Johnson sent in a cross from the right to an unmarked Vishal R inside the box. The midfielder produced a powerful header from inside the six-yard box, but it was close to Manipur custodian Siddharth Rana, who produced a reflex diving save.

Johnson, from almost providing the assist, turned villain for Karnataka when he was adjudged to have produced a high boot inside his own box, as the referee pointed to the spot. Ngangbam Pacha Singh duly put the ball to the keeper’s right, to put Manipur in the lead.

Karnataka mounted a late surge, the urgency in their game increasing every minute, but it left gaping holes behind their defence, which allowed Manipur a few chances on the counter. The best of these perhaps came in injury time, when Philam Sanathoi Singh received a cross on a platter from Leimajam Sangkar Singh, and only had to tap it in from deep inside the Karnataka penalty box. However, Karnataka captain Manoj Swamy Kannan tracked Sanathoi down and put his foot in, in the last minute, to block the shot.

This result puts a severe dent in the defending champions’ chances for qualification to the quarter-finals, as they remain at the rock bottom of Group B with just two points from three matches. While they will have their work cut out in their last two matches against Railways and Maharashtra, who are in their own battles for qualification, one win will put them right back on track.

Mizoram win big against Delhi

Mizoram produced a near-flawless performance against Delhi in their third Santosh Trophy game on Monday, registering a 5-1 victory at the Golden Jubilee Stadium. MC Malsawmzuala and Malsawmzuala Tlangte scored two each in the first half, before MS Dawngliana netted one in the second half, to make it five for them. Mohit Mittal pulled one back for Delhi in second-half injury time, but the damage was already done. This result means that Mizoram draw level with Delhi, both of whom are on four points from three matches.

Railways pip Maharashtra

Railways, who began the day at the bottom of Group B, managed to get themselves back into contention for knockout qualification with a slender 2-1 victory against Maharashtra. Subrata Murmu put Railways in the lead in the 11th minute, before Maharashtra captain Nikhil Kadan equalised minutes before the half-time break. However, Rajesh produced a sublime glancing header at the near post, to score the winner for Railways in the 73rd minute. Railways, after this win, also move to four points from three matches, while Maharashtra remain on three points from as many games.

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