Santosh Trophy 2018 round-up: West Bengal and Kerala maintain the winning streaks to book semifinal berths
Kerala remain at the top of Group 'A'
West Bengal cruised to a 1-0 victory against Chandigarh to maintain their winning streak in the final rounds of the 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Mohun Bagan ground on a hot and humid Sunday evening. On the other hand, Kerala also won 3-0 in their tie against Maharashtra to script their third victory in as many matches. Both the winning teams qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, which are scheduled to be played next week.
Needing a win to qualify for the semi-finals, West Bengal started to take control of the game from the beginning. Tirthankar Sarkar and Bidyasagar Singh were spearheading the attacks. It was in the 18th minute that Vidyasagar's left footed shot helped West Bengal take the lead.
Chandigarh were never in the game following the goal, but they started the second half pretty well. The North Indian team produced series of attacks in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but still, the scoreline was undisturbed. Chandigarh got a chance to make it evens in the 90th minute but the header came back after hitting the crossbar. West Bengal held on the 1-goal cushion to win the tie.
Kerala continue their good form
Kerala started off well but it was in the 23rd minute that they got the first breakthrough. A penalty was awarded and skipper Rahul Raj made no mistake to convert it. Kerala’ star player Jithin MS doubled the lead in the 39th minute.
The scene was no different in the second half with Rahul KP scoring the third for Kerala in the 58th minute. The men from the south held on to the lead and maintained their top position in Group ‘A’. Meanwhile, Chandigarh and Maharashtra were knocked out of the competition.
The top two teams from Group ‘A’ Kerala and West Bengal will go head-to-head in a game that will decide which team will top the group. The match will be played at Mohun Bagan ground on Tuesday, March 27 in a 3 pm kick-off.