Services and Manipur made the final of the Men’s Football event in the 37th National Games in contrasting styles at Fatorda, Goa, on Monday, November 6.
While Services were the runaway 4-2 winners against strong Kerala in the day’s first match, Manipur didn’t have it easy against Punjab. The northeastern state, however, had the last laugh as they managed a 2-1 victory in the end. The final will be played on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
In the Services-Kerala match, the latter took the lead in the 27th minute when Nijo Gilbert scored from the spot. Services restored parity just before half time through Rahul Ramakrishnan, who scored again five minutes after the change of ends. Two more goals from P Christopher Kemei and Bikash Thapa finally sealed the deal in favour of Services. In between, Sanju G reduced the margin for Kerala, but it didn’t help them in the end.
In the second semi-final, Manipur took a 2-0 lead at the half time with goals from Phijam Sanathoi Metei and Leimajam Sangkar Singh. In the second half, Punjab made all efforts to come back to the game and pulled one back through Abhishek Rattu. Manipur, however, held on to their slim lead grimly till the final whistle.