AIFF SANTOSH TROPHY 2016-17 - (FINAL ROUND-GOA)




BENGAL : THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

26.03.2017: GOA 0-1 BENGAL (FT)
BENGAL : Manvir singh 119'
Best Goalkeeper: Bruno Colaco (Goa)
Best Defender: Provat Lakra (Bengal)
Best Midfielder: Cajetan Fernandes (Goa)
Best Striker: Basanta Singh ( Bengal)
GOA :Bruno Colaco, Melvin Lobo, Peter Carvalho, Liston Colaco, Aaren D'Silva, Assumption Soares, Nicolau Colaco, Cajetan Fernandes, Leander D'Cunha, Brian Mascarenhas, Glan Martins,


BENGAL : Sankar Roy, Samad Ali Mallick, Rana Gharami, Santu Singh, Provat Lakra, SK. Faiaz, Bishal Pradhan, Mumtaz Akhtar, Manvir Singh, Ronald Singh, Basanta Singh

BENGAL WON BY A MARGIN OF 1-0 DEFEATING GOA TO LIFT THE SANTOSH TROPHY FOR 32ND TIME UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF COACH, MRIDUL KANTI BANERJEE.
120': FULL TIME SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
119': SCORE : GOA 0-1 BENGAL (MANVIR SINGH)
119': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL : Bengal leading 1-0.Manvir Singh left footer from inside the 18 yards following an areal pass from Ronald Singh beat Goan Goalkeeper.
0': STAT 7 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL FACED GOA AT THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY AT CHENNAI ON 14.06.2009 (2008-2009 SEASON). BENGAL LOST IN TIE BREAKER 2-4.


114':CHANCE MISSED! Bengal - Basant missed from left sided pass of Ronald Singh.
0': STAT 6 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL FACED GOA IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD IN CHENNAI ON 04.04.1999 (1998-99 SEASON). BENGAL WON 5-0 - Basudeb Mondol, Baichung Bhutia, Karlton Chapman, Raman Vijayan, Dipendu Biswas. FOR BENGAL.


90+15': SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
90+1': EXTRA TIME STARTS.
90': END Of SCHEDULE TIME: SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
90+2': CHANCE FOR GOA - Shankar well saved D'Counha's close shot.
90': 3 Minute added time.
89': Left footer of Manvir Shigh from close went out.
0': STAT 5 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL FACED GOA IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD IN GUWAHATI ON 27.04.1998 (1997-98 SEASON). BENGAL WON 1-0 - SRIKANTA DUTTA SCORED FOR BENGAL.


85': STILL GOALLESS IN THE MATCH.
75': FREE KICK to Goa - Poor shot went wide.
67': No inpact from Mumtaz's corner kick.
65':4th Corner for Bengal from attack of Basanta Singh from left.
60': SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
0': STAT 4 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL MET GOA IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD IN JABBALPUR ON 19.01.1997 (1996-97 SEASON). BENGAL WON 1-0 - RAMAN VIJAYAN SCORED THE GOLDEN GOAL FOR BENGAL.

59': IN GROUP LEAGUE MATCH BETWEEN BENGAL AND GOA ENDED GOALLESS.
56': Kick of Brian went out over the bar.
50': SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
46': 2nd half starts.
HT : 0-0.
0': STAT 3 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL MET GOA IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD IN MARGAO ON 31.03.1996 (1995-96 SEASON). BENGAL WON 2-0 WHERE ABDUL KHALEK and BAICHUNG BHUTIA SCORED FOR BENGAL.

37': THIS IS 71st edition of SANTOSH TROPHY NATIONAL FOOTBALL WHICH BENGAL WON 31 TIMES SO FAR.
35': SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
28': 2 back to back corner for Bengal but noscore from Mumtaz Akhtar's kick.
25': 3rd corner kick for Goa but cleared from Bengal box.
23': YELLOW CARD - Basant Singh of Bengal as he scored in offside.
0': STAT 2 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL MET GOA IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD IN KOLKATA ON 05.03.1983 AND 06.03.1983 (1982-83 SEASON). SCORE WAS 0-0 BOTH DAYS AND BENGAL AND GOA DECLARED JOINT WINNER.
20': Bengal attacked from left, Bishal Prodhan's grounder went to Goa Keeper.
14': Bishal Prodhan's effort from right wing finally went for Goal kick of Goa.
12': GOOD SAVE of SHANKAR - Aaren D'Silva close shot .
10': SCORE : GOA 0-0 BENGAL
10': Ronald Singh's kick cleared.
9': Corner for Bengal from Samad Ali's attack.
6': Shankar - Keeper of Bengal resists a shot of Goa.
5': Corner for Goa, Cjetan's kick cleared.
1': Match starts.
0': STAT 1 - NARAYAN DASGUPTA : BENGAL MET GOA IN THE FIRST FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHICH HELD ON 08.10.1978 (1978-79 SEASON) AT SRINAGAR. BENGAL WON 1-0 SCORER WAS MANAS BHATTACHARYA.

0': 8 TIMES BENGAL AND GOA MET IN THE FINAL OF SANTOSH TROPHY WHERE BENGAL WON 5 TIMES AND GOA WON 1 TIMES DRAWN 2.

0': 71st SANTOSH TROPHY FINAL WILL START SOON AT GOA BETWEEN TWO GIANT STATE IN FOOTBALL OF INDIA : BENGAL VS GOA.


PREVIEW: The top two states of Indian football Bengal and Goa will going to meet at the final of the 71st Santosh Trophy at Bambolim Stadium, Goa. Santosh Trophy lost it's past glory due to some changes adopted by All India Football Federation in the recent past. This tournament has been played devoid of its best players for the last many years, there will not be an iota of doubt that the Santosh Trophy is the only tournament that sets alive the traditional Bengal-Goa rivalry in its true sense.

WEST BENGAL
WON : 31
RUNNERS UP : 12
LAST WIN : 2010-11
HIGHEST MARGIN WIN : 6-1 AGAINST SERVICES(1970-71)


HIGHEST MARGIN WIN BETWEEN BENGAL AND GOA

BENGAL 5-0 GOA ( CHENNAI 1998-99 )

There were some important clashes between these two states in the of Santosh Trophy. In the year 1982-83 both the teams were declared as joint winners after the match failed to yield results even the match played in two consecutive days. In 1996 Bengal defeated Goa by a brace at Goa to clinch the tittle. This will be the eighth occasion when these two states will face against each other at the final of Santosh Trophy.

GOA
WON : 5
RUNNERS UP : 7
LAST WIN : 2008-09
HIGHEST MARGIN WIN : 4-2 (TIE BREAKER) AGAINST BENGAL(2008-09)

Bengal qualified with a game to spare and are still unbeaten in the tournament along with Goa. They accumulated the most points among all teams in the group stages. For Bengal coach, Mridul Bannerjee, the final though will not be easy considering the vociferous home support that the hosts would be enjoying. Goals have been a big problem for the most successful team in the tournament’s history. They have scored just four goals in their five matches so far and have relied on their strong defense to see them through in several matches. Their strikers up front have looked far from convincing but with the law of averages catching up, Mridul Bannerjee would hope that this would be the game when both his strikers fire.

Goa will have the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd. The President of Goa Football Association Elvis Gomes has urged the Goan fans to come in large numbers to support Goa. The coach of Goa while interacting with the media said, “ The boys have worked really hard to reach the final and I can assure you that whoever comes on the pitch will give more than their hundred per cent. We want to win the Santosh trophy in front of our home fans and we will give it our all."


SANTOSH TROPHY SEMI FINALS
23.03.2017: GOA 2-1 KERALA (FT)
GOA : Liston Colaco, 13', 36'
KER : Rahul V Raj

23.03.2017: BENGAL 0-0, 6-5 (Pen) MIZORAM (FT)
BEN : Sankar, Santu, Samad Ali, Rana, Sk.Faiyaz, Mumtaz, Sagnik, Probhat, Manvir, Basant, Ronald.

MIZ : Lalmuanawma, Malsawma (U-21), Lalhmunmawia (U-21), Lalrinchhana (Captain), Laldinliana, Biaktea, Chhuantea, Rinchhana (U-21), Sangbera, Lalrammawia, F Lalrinpuia

BEN : Rana Gharami, Manveer, Samad Ali Mullick, Mumtaz Akhtar..Manotosh Chakladar missed. Shankar saved two.
FT : BENGAL REACH IN THE FINAL.
BEN : Rana Gharami, Manveer, Samad Ali Mullick, Mumtaz Akhtar..Manotosh Chakladar missed. Shankar saved two. PENALTY : 4-4. Now sudden Death.
90+30': score - 0-0 Tie-Breaker to start.
90+1: Extra time starts.
90': score - 0-0
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21.03.2017: MIZORAM 5-1 RAILWAYS ( FT)
MIZO :Lalchhuanawma Vanchhawng, Lalrinpuia-2, Lalrinchhana, Lalsangbera (Pen),
RAIL : Goutam Kujur

Mizoram inflicted a crushing 5-1 defeat against Railways to qualify for the semi-finals of the 71st Santosh Trophy in a match played at the GMC Stadium. Both teams were locked 1-1 at half time.

The first half was cagey with both teams measuring each other’s strengths. With both teams in contention for a semi-final berth, none wanted to concede the first goal. Mizoram playing a 4-2-3-1 formation looked the more compact of the two sides. After the initial cross-fire Mizoram took the lead through Lalchhuanawma Vanchhawng who cut in from the right measured his shot and took a curling ground shot that went past the outreached hands of the Railways goalkeeper Owais Khan. However three minutes before the break, Railways were back on level terms when Jitendra Pal who was left completely unmarked on the left flank, put in delightful cross which was headed in by Goutum Kujur.

The second half though belonged entirely to Mizoram and just fifteen minutes after the break the rout started. F. Lalrinpuia and Sangbera combining well to create space allowing Lalrinpuia to fire home from close range. Mizoram made it 3-1 in the 71st minute when Lalrinpuia on this occasion provided a defence slitting pass to Lalrinchhana who rounded off the keeper and scored. Seven minutes later Mizoram made it 4-1 through a spot kick with Lalsangbera converting the penalty. The rout was completed in the 82nd minute when after Lalrimpuia scored his second of the game.

The win enabled Mizoram to qualify for the semi-finals in second place from Group B behind Kerala

21.03.2017: MAHARASHTRA 2-0 KERALA ( FT)
MAH : Vaibhav Shirley, Shrikant Veeramallu

At the Tilak Maidan, Maharashtra stunned Kerala 2-0 but it was not enough for them to secure a semi-final berth. Vaibhav Shirley scored the first goal for Maharashtra in the 35th minute and Shrikant Veeramallu doubled their lead in the second half to earn Maharashtra a consolation win.

In the semi-finals, Bengal will play Mizoram on Thursday 23rd March at 1500 hours and Goa will take on Kerala on the same day at 1900 hours. Both matches will be played at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.

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20.03.2017: BENGAL 2-0 MEGHALAYA - FT
BEN : Manvir Singh, Ronald Singh

At the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Bengal confirmed top spot in the group scoring a 2-0 win over Meghalaya. Shaikhom Singh put Bengal ahead in the 8th minute when Manvir Singh laid it on a platter for him to tap in past the goalkeeper. Late into the match with six minutes left on the clock Manvir Singh put the result beyond doubt after dribbling past two defenders and completing the finish.

Goa take on Kerala in the second semi-final on Thursday at 1900 hours while Bengal would have to wait till tomorrow to find out whom they play in the first semi-final on the same day at 1500 hours. Both matches will be played at the Bambolim Sports Complex.

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20.03.2017: GOA 1-0 SERVICES- (FT)
GOA : Akeraj Martins.
RED CARD : Rary Raj - Services - 68'

This match had everything. An early goal for Services that left the huge Goan faithful fearing another heartbreak, a cliff hanger of an atmosphere that left every fan at the edge of their seats, a number of missed chances that left Goa coach Mateus Costa pulling the hair off his head and finally, a young teenage lad from Taleigao, Akeraj Martins, carrying the weight of the Goan faithful on his shoulders, making a dazzling run on the left, beating the onrushing keeper and lobbing the ball over him to find the back of the net leaving the huge crowd in raptures. Cajetan Fernandes, then put the result beyond doubt with another clinical finish and the Goan crowd heaved a huge sigh of relief.

Goa started the match needing a point at the minimum to ensure a semi-final berth. Goa gaffer Mateus Costa made two changes to the starting line-up that disappointed against Chandigarh. Glan Martins replaced an injured Goa captain Francis Fernandes and Latesh Mandrekar replaced Leander D’Cunha. Goa got off to the worst possible start when they found themselves a goal down before they even settled, ex-Delhi Dynamos player Arjun Tudu beating Bruno Colaco from the narrowest of angles to score after just seven minutes. Goa then suffered another blow when stopper back Leny Pereira had to be replaced by Cajetan Fernandes due to a tight hamstring. Then began Goa’s profligacy in front of goal.

It started with a Brian Mascarenhas free kick going just over the bar, a Liston Fernandes cross eluding both Aaren D'Silva and Brian Mascarenhas by inches and Latesh Mandrekar blazing his shot wide of the keeper after Liston had played in a brilliant through ball. Goa’s fans really started to worry though towards the end of the first half when first, in the 38th minute, Aaren D’Silva missed an absolute sitter after Liston did all the hard work and fed the ball to him on a platter, and then a minute before half time when a Peter Carvalho header off a corner was cleared off the line by Services skipper Rary Raj.

In the second half, Services with a goal up preferred to defend and beat Goa on the counter. And they nearly went 2-0 up when Arjun Tudu beat the offside trap but Bruno Colaco made a brilliant save to keep Goa in the game. Goa were then thrown a lifeline and given a numerical advantage with twenty-two minutes left on the clock when Services skipper Rary Raj was given marching orders for a second yellow, however chances continued to go begging. Just when everyone thought that this would be another Santosh Trophy heartbreak for Goa, in stepped the man of the moment Akeraj Martins.

The Sporting Clube de Goa striker received a high ball from Peter Carvalho that eluded the Services defenders, took one touch, controlled the ball, went past the onrushing keeper and lobbed the ball over him into the side netting sending the Goa bench and the cheering crowd into ecstasy. Two minutes before the final whistle, Cajetan Fernandes calmed Goa’s nerves scoring the second goal after some brilliant combination play from Glan Martins and Akeraj Martins.

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19.03.2017: MAHARASHTRA 1-0 PUNJAB (FT)
PUN : Vijit Shetty

GFA PRESS RELEASE
Maharashtra had their first real chance soon after kick off when former Air India man Vijith Shetty shot just wide of the goal post. Their best chance though came when Rahul Das laid the ball on a platter for Abhishek Ambekar but he shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Godfrey Pereira’s side were making all the right moves and forcing the Punjab midfielders to back track. Aaron D’Costa and Abhishek Ambekar along with Vijith Shetty combining well on several occasions. Punjab could have taken the lead against the run of play when Harpal Singh squared the ball to Rajbir Singh but his shot was blocked by the Maharashtra goalkeeper Aditya Mishra.

The second half saw the pendulum swing totally in favour of Maharashtra and it was only a matter of time before Vijith Shetty put them ahead. A brilliant square ball from Aaron D’Costa found Vijit Shetty in acres of space inside the box. He neatly turned one defender and shot right in the top corner leaving Punjab keeper Paramjit Singh with absolutely no chance of making a save. Just four minutes after Maharashtra went ahead, with twenty three odd minutes left on the clock, Punjab had their best chance to equalise when a brilliant cross from Amandeep Singh on the right found an unmarked Harpal Singh. He however tried to smash in a volley first time, and his weak shot was easily saved by the keeper.

That was the closest Punjab would get as Maharashtra kept raiding their defence. Substitute Astle Pereira could have put the result beyond doubt missing two golden opportunities as Godfrey Pereira’s side hung on for their first three points of the tournament. Time would tell however, if they would hang on for a semi-final spot in an extremely tough group that is surely going all down to the wire.

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19.03.2017: KERALA 4-1 MIZORAM (FT)
MEGH : Jobby Justin, Seesant.S, Asharuddin-2
MIZ : Lalrammawia Rammawia.
RED CARD :Lalfakzuala Fakzuala- 27' Mizoram

At the Tilak Maidan, Kerala became the second team to qualify for the semi-finals after Bengal when they scored a comfortable 4-1 win over Mizoram. Jobby Justin became the top scorer of the tournament taking his tally to four goals when he gave the Southerners the lead in the 7th minute. Two minutes later, Seesant S doubled Kerala’s lead to give them a 2-0 lead going into the lemon break. Mizoram then went a man down in the 27th minute when Lalfakzuala Fakzuala received his second boking for a reckless challenge.

The numerical disadvantage took it’s toll in the second half as Kerala ran riot. A brilliant brace by substitute Asharuddin gave Kerala a more than comfortable lead and a boost to their goal difference. Mizoram pulled one back four minutes before the final whistle when Lalrammawia Rammawia found the back of the net. Mizoram though still have a chance to join Kerala and make it to the semis if they beat Railways in their final match in two days’ time.

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18.03.2017: GOA 1-1 CHANDIGARH (FT)
PUN : Francis Fernandes
CHN : Gagandeep Singh

GFA PRESS RELEASE : Goa missed a plethora of chances to settle for a 1-1 draw against Chandigarh that leaves them needing at least a point in their final game to make it through the semi-finals.

Goa coach Mateus Costa made four changes to the starting eleven from their previous match. Cajetan Fernandes was relegated to the bench, with Peter Carvalho moving to the midfield from defence and Leny Pereira getting his first start at centre back partnering Melvin Lobo. Goa goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes out with a groin strain was replaced by Melroy Fernandes while Brian Mascarenhas and Aaren D’Silva also got on to the start list.

Goa got off to the perfect start when Aaren D’Silva tapped in a Francis Fernandes cross from inside the box to give the hosts the lead in the 13th minute. Aaren then had another chance to double Goa’s lead but he shot straight to the keeper after being put through on goal by Liston Colaco. The Chandigarh defense led by former Sesa FA defender Gagandeep Singh had a tough time thwarting the Goa attackers.

The second half started with Goa again missing guilt edge chances, leaving the Goa supporters shaking their heads in disbelief. Liston Colaco, substitute Marcus Mascarenhas and Cajetan Fernandes were all guilty of profligacy in front of goal either shooting wide, freezing inside the box while shooting or delaying their shots allowing the Chandigarh defenders to close them. Liston Colaco missed the best of the lot. In the 54th after receiving the ball from Brian Mascarenhas on the left, he shot above the bar with only the goalkeeper to beat. Again, Liston was the culprit a few minutes later when a nice lay off header by Marcus Mascarenhas fell just in front of him however his shot off his left foot was saved by the keeper.

Marcus Mscarenhas then had just the goalkeeper to beat after a pass from Liston put him in a one on one situation with the keeper, however he failed to turn round the keeper and shoot home. He also missed an open header from close range after a cross off a free kick from Nicolau Colaco. The missed chances came to haunt Goa when Gagandeep Singh curled in a brilliant shot from outside the box past Goa keeper Melroy Fernandes who was way off his line. Melroy then nearly gifted Chandigarh the lead when he failed to clear the ball but Amandeep Singh couldn’t convert the chance. Soon after the goal, Goa seemed to panic creating several chances, getting players in front but somehow the goal eluded them leaving coach Mateus Costa frustrated on the bench.

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18.03.2017: SERVICES 0-2 MEHGALAYA (FT)
MEGH : Nongspung, Bisharlang Kharumnuid


At the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, defending champions Services failed to qualify for the semi-finals after losing their second game against Meghalaya. Meghalaya took the lead in the 7th minute when Ernestar Malngiang’s long ball eluded the Services defenders and found Nongspung who unleashed a half volley that crashed into the nylons. Bisharlang Kharumnuid then made it 2-0 for the North Eastern side in the 76th minute to send the defending champions out of the tournament. Meghalaya now need a win against Bengal in their final match and would hope Goa lose against Services to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

17.03.2017: KERALA 2-2 PUNJAB (FT)
PUN : Sherin Sam(og), Manvir Singh 57',
KER : Parakkottil-2

Kerala snatched a point from the jaws of defeat as substitute Muhammed Parakkottil banged in two goals in the last ten minutes to earn a thrilling 2-2 draw against Punjab at the GMC Stadium at Bambolim. In a match that came alive in the second half Punjab after playing the counter attacking game were 2-0 up with just ten minutes of play left, however Kerala came from the death to gain a valuable point that keeps tthem firmly in contention for a semi final berth.

Both teams had relatively equal chances to score in the first half although Punjab had the better of the lot. Kerala skipper Usman P had a great chance to put his team in the lead when he received a through ball from the midfield, beat the offside trap and got past the keeper. But just as he was about to turn and take a shot, he was closed down by three on rushing Punjab defenders.

The again a couple of minutes later, a cross from the right saw the ball elude the Punjab keeper and defender Rajbir Singh. But in spite of two Kerala attackers waiting on the other side of the cross they failed to score. Punjab too had chances of their own. In the 11th minute a superb volley by Vijay Kumar was well saved by the Kerala keeper Midhun V. He was again called into action when he saved a fine header from Rajbir Singh to keep the score at 0-0 going into the break

In the second half Punjab relied on some fine counter attacking play to go 2-0 up within the first twenty minutes of the second half. First a strong cross from the left by Amandeep Singh went dangerously close to the goal and Kerala defender Sherin Sam knocked it into his own net while trying to clear the cross.

In the 57th minute Punjab coach Kuldip Singh must have thought he had the three points in the bag. A lovely diagonal ball across the Punjab midfield found Manvir Singh in acres of space on the left. Credit to him though, he kept his composure, feigned two defenders and neatly placed the ball past an onrushing Midhun who could just watch the ball fly past him.

With nothing to lose Kerala coach V. P. Shaji rolled the last die and brought in Muhammed Parakkottil. And the U-21 youngster didn’t disappoint his coach and the travelling journalists from Kerala. Two minutes before the end of regulation time, a brilliant pacy cross by Jobby Justin found Parakkottil, whose bullet header gave the Punjab keeper Paramjit Singh absolutely no chance of saving it. Kerala were right back in it and luck was on their side when the fourth official showed five minutes of added on time. With seconds to go before the final whistle, Jobby Justin, turned provider again when hiss flick header found Parakkottil who was at the right place at the right time to deflect the ball into the Punjab goal sending the Kerala bench into raptures.

Kerala with this draw have four points from two matches while Punjab with 5 points from three games need a win in their final match against Maharashtra to have any hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

17.03.2017: MAHARASHTRA 0-1 RAILWAY (FT)
RAIL : Rahul Dias (og-32')

A Rahul Dias own goal in the 32nd minute relegated Maharashtra to a shock 0-1 defeat to Railways and almost ended their campaign in this year’s Santosh Trophy. After narrowly losing out to Mizoram in their first game by an identical scoreline, Maharashtra needed a win to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. However an insipid display from the 1999-00 winners leaves them with virtually no chance of reaching the semi-finals. 17.03.2017: KERALA 2-2 PUNJAB (FT)
PUN : Sherin Sam(og), Manvir Singh 57',
KER : Parakkottil-2


16.03: GOA 0-0 BENGAL (FT)



Whether it was the Dempo-Mohun Bagan rivalry in the early 2000’s that the Goans always had an upper hand on, or Bruno Coutinho’s Golden goal in the 1997 Federation Cup final that silenced a packed Salt Lake stadium, or more recently, a fracas filled FC Goa-Atletico de Kolkata match in the first season of the ISL, where Robert pires and Antonio Habas came to blows, they all originated from traditional rivalry and fierce battles that Goa endured against Bengal in the Santosh Trophy for the last 70 years. In the end the match turned out to be a damp squib and never really reached the level of expected proportions. Goa and Bengal, both showed sporadic glimpses of brilliance before settling for a goalless draw at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. Goa, the stronger of the two sides on paper never really took off, their build up play wasn’t really of the highest standards and only a strong second half performance ensured that they still look one of the two favourites to qualify from Group A.

The first half saw both teams enjoy almost equal possession. Midfield possession was the order of the day with both teams hardly creating any chances. Bengal required a mistake from Goa goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes to make their first real foray into the Goan defence. An innocuous looking back header from Melvin Lobo was spilled by Agnelo in the 11th minute. The ball fell at the feet of Bengal forward Moirangthem Basanta Singh, however with the goalkeeper way off his line and only the last man Peter Carvalho to beat , he slammed his shot wide of the post.

Goa’s only clear chance in the first half came in the 39th minute when young Leander D’Cunha’s shot sailing over the bar after the Bengal defence failed to clear a Liston Colaco free kick.

The second half started with much purpose, Goa being the more adventurous of the two teams. Liston Colaco’s free kick three minutes after the restart went straight to the keeper. Goa’s keeper then came to his sides rescue saving twice from close range, first from a shot off Manvir Singh and then from a shot off Debasis Pradshan who smashed a pile driver from the right.

Bengal had their best chance in the 70th minute when Shaikhom Ronald Singh’s cross from the left went just above the head of Manvir Singh. It was all Goa in the last twenty minutes, Cajetan Fernandes, Liston Colaco and Brian Mascarenhas from the left creating havoc with their crosses, runs and through balls leaving the Bengal defence at sixes and sevens. However apart from a weak effort from Cajetan who suffered a brain fade when he entered the box, and a free kick towards the end that needed a double save from the Bengal keeper Sankar Roy, Goa never came close to putting the ball in the back of the net.

PREVIEW : This rivalry between Indian football’s two traditional powerhouses, takes centre stage again tomorrow as Goa battle Bengal in the Santosh Trophy at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, and even though the Santosh Trophy has lost its charm over the years, this is one match that always raises the pressure, becomes nail biting and brings the Santosh Trophy alive. Bengal are in a rich vein of form having won their last two matches and currently are on top of Group A, while Goa on the other hand looked promising in their lone game against Meghalaya on Sunday where the scripted a 2-1 win.

Bengal coach, Mridul Bannerjee, who knows Goan conditions well, having been with Vasco Sports Club would know the importance of this match. Bengal haven’t had the roller coaster of starts to their campaign but two grinding 1-0 wins against Chandigarh and Services see them sit comfortably at top spot. A win against Goa would almost guarantee them a spot in the semi-finals of a tournament they have won a record times. Mumtaz Akhtar would once again be Mridul Bannerjee’s key man in midfield while Moirangthem Basanta Singh would look to get his name on the score sheet for the second successive game.

For Goa coach Mateus Costa, picking his starting eleven wouldn’t be much of a headache. Liston Colaco who has been a revelation this season would lead the attack with Latesh Mandrekar. Workhorse midfielder Cajetan Fernandes would anchor the midfield, while Peter Carvalho and Melvin Lobo would once again pair up at the back for Goa. The presence of skipper Francis Fernandes on the wings would add a bit of flair to the Goan midfield.

Meanwhile GFA President Elvis Gomes has appealed to the fans to come out in large numbers to support the home side. “Goa needs the backing of the fans in this crucial game. Goa and Bengal have always witnessed a fierce rivalry over the years, and with Bengal already having won two matches, they look strong contenders for the tournament. Howevere Goa has the advantage of playing in front of its home fans and I hope our fans come out in large numbers and back Goa to the hilt in this crucial game”.

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16.03: SERVICES 1-0 CHANDIGARH (FT)
SER : Francis Zountlunga 8'

Meanwhile in Vasco, defending champions Services scored through a penalty to earn a 1-0 win over Chandigarh and keep their chances of qualifying for the semis alive. Francis Zountlunga converted the spot kick in the 8th minute to script Services’ first win of the tournament.

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15.03.2017: KERALA 4-2 RAILWAYS (FT)
KER : Usman Ashiq, Joby-Hattrick
RAIL : Rajesh Soosanyakam-2

GFA PRESS RELEASE : There were no opening match blues for former champions Kerala as they scored a comfortable 4-2 win against Railways in a Group B encounter at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. Jobby Justin was the star of the show for Kerala scoring a fine hattrick- the first of the tournament.

Playing a compact 4-4-2 formation with plenty of attacking play via the wings, Kerala regularly troubled the Railways defenders who were time and again caught napping. Railways had no answer to Kerala’s attacking prowess, and even though they scored the opener, conceding goals at regular intervals hurt them badly as they suffered their second straight loss of the campaign.

Services, surprisingly drew first blood in the 17th minute, when a defensive lapse in the Kerala half allowed Rajesh Soosanyakam to score his first goal of the game and second of the tournament. Kerala though immediately got back to business and found the equaliser four minutes later when a delightful cross by Nishon Xavier from the right found Joby Justin who buried it in the goal through a fine header. Joby scored his second of the evening just before half time with a fine free kick that beat the Railways keeper Akhil Kumar all ends up. Kerala went into the lemon break with a 2-1 lead.

Kerala started the second half in the same way they ended it, Jobby Justin securing his hattrick in the 63rd minute after he scored from his head, yet again, through a corner. Things got more comfortable for the South Indian side in the 71st minute when captain Usman P scored from a cross from Jishnu Bala Krishnan to give Kerala a 4-1 lead with just 15 minutes to play. There was some consolation for Services right at the end though when Rajesh Soosanyakam, completed his brace after he beat the offiside trap off a free kick and slotted the ball home. Soosanayakam took his goal tally to three in the tournament joint highest with kerala striker Jobby Justin.

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15.03.2017: MIZORAM 0-0 PUNJAB (FT)

Meanwhile at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Punjab and Mizoram played out a goalless draw that did both of their chances no harm. Mizoram playing their first game in the tournament would have been happy with a point in their first game while for Punjab, after a win in their opening game, a draw in this game consolidated second place in the group and they remain in contention for a semi-final berth.

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14.03.2017: SERVICES 0-1 BENGAL
BEN : Basant Singh

GFA PRESS RELEASE : West Bengal moved atop the Group A standings after a hard fought 1-0 win over defending champions Services at the Bambolim Sports Complex while Chandigarh left it late in stoppage time to score a 2-1 win over Meghalaya at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco.

Services, the defending champions, playing their first match in the tournament started with a strong line up with former Delhi Dynamo midfielder Arjun Tudu and U-21 player RK Jelison leading the attack. Talented midfielder Anoop Pauly was entrusted with the responsibility of marshalling the midfield. On the other hand West Bengal coach, Mridul Bannerjee, who was formerly with Vasco Sports Club, preferred a compact 4-4-2 formation with former Pune FC midfielder Mumtaz Akhtar anchoring the midfield. After a cautious first twenty minutes, West Bengal took the lead through Moirangthem Basanta Singh.

In the 22nd minute, he collected the ball after it rebounded off Services defender N. Herojith Singh and unleashed a brilliant curler from an angle leaving the goalkeeper beaten all ends up. The match then failed to spring to life with midfield possession dominating proceedings and both teams hardly making any real forays into the opponents citadel.

Services came out with much purpose in the second half and started dominating proceedings from the start. First, Mohammed Irshad dribbled past a couple of West Bengal defenders and his powerful pile driver was saved by the Bengal keeper Sankar Roy. Then in the 67th minute a free kick from Jain P. was brilliantly kept out again by Sankar Roy. Just when it seemed Services would pile on the pressure and sneak in an equaliser, their star midfielder Arjun Tudu was given marching orders in the 73rd minute after a push on the opponent defender earned him a second yellow card.

Despite the numerical disadvantage Anoop Pauly single handedly tried to bring Services back on level terms with two individual efforts- a superb volley that was saved by the Bengal keeper and a shot from outside the box that hit the woodwork. Bengal then had a brilliant chance to put the result beyond doubt in the 78th minute but Manvir Singh messed up a sitter with only the Services keeper to beat. Bengal’s numerical advantage then disappeared in the 89th minute when Monotosh Chakladar was sent off for a double booking. However, they held on for the last four minutes of added time to earn their second win of the tournament and move to the top of Group A

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14.03.2017: CHANDIGARH 2-1 MEGHALAYA
MEG : Kitboklang Pale 51'
CHN : Gagandeep Singh 64', Sehijpal Singh 90+2'

In another match at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Chandigarh fought back from a goal deficit to defeat Meghalaya 2-1 and earn their first win of the tournament. Meghalaya, who lost to Goa in their opening match, took the lead in the 51st minute through Kitboklang Pale. Chandigarh fought their way back through Gagandeep Singh in the 64th minute but just when the match appeared to be heading for a draw, Chandigarh scored the match winner in added time through Sehijpal Singh and condemned Meghalaya to their second straight defeat of the tournament.

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Mizoram and Punjab both scored wins in their opening matches of the final round of the 71st Santosh Trophy Football Championships at the Bambolim Sports Complex and Navelim Ground respectively.

13.03.2017: MIZORAM 2-1 MAHARASHTRA
MIZ : Lalchhuanawma Vanchhawng 7', Lalrinpuia 44', Lalsangbera Sangbera 55'
MAS : Rahul. Mizoram- Lalhlimpuia Lalhlima, Lalrinchhana Tochhawng, Ramfangzauva Zautea, Lalbiakhlua, Lalrinchhana Rcha, Lalfakzuala Fakzuala, F. Lalrinpuia, V. Lalchhuanawma Vanchhanwng, K. Lalmalsawma, Malsawma, Lalsangbera Sangbera, Lalruatpuia.

Maharashtra- Harshad Meher, Sebin Varghese, Dion Menezes, Shravan Shetty, Aaron D’Costa, Kiran Pandhare, Mrunal Tamdel, Abhishek Ambekar, Vinil Poojary, Rahul Das, Umesh Perambra.

At the Bambolim Sports Complex, Mizoram took on Maharashtra in a clash of former winners. The North-Easterners who were winners in the 2013-14 season put out a strong side with coach Lalsangzuala Hmar giving starts to four U-21 players. Mizoram drew first blood in the 7th minute when a long ball from the midfield went over the Maharashtra defence leading to confusion between the defenders and the Maharashtra shot stopper Harshad Meher.

Mizoram defender Lalchhuanawma Vanchhawng took advantage of the indecision and tapped the ball in an open net. However just four minutes later Maharashtra got back in the game with the equaliser coming from the boots of young Rahul Das. After a cross from the left, Rahul latched on to the rebound and volleyed home to restore parity and keep Maharashtra on level terms. There after both teams played a cagey affair preferring not to give the opponents any space. The Maharashtra defence though were kept on their toes with some swift moves from the Mizoram attackers although there were no clear cut chances for them.

A couple of minutes before the lemon break, Mizoram went back into the lead when striker Lalrinpuia slammed home from close range giving no chance to the Maharashtra keeper. The match read 2-1 in favour of Mizoram at half time.

Ten minutes after the break, in their quest to find the equaliser Maharashtra left gaping holes in their defence allowing Lalsangbera Sangbera to latch on to a pass from Mizoram midfielder Lalfakzuala Fakzuala, dribble past a couple of defenders from the left and put the ball in the back of the net giving a two goal lead to Mizoram. Maharashtra coach, Godfrey Pereira then made a couple of swift changes but it could not help Maharashtra get a goal back in the process. Mizoram controlled the game with possession play and hardly let Maharashtra any time and space on the ball. In the end it was a comfortable win for the North Eastern side who earned valuable three points from the encounter. They next take on Punjab at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco in two days time. For Maharashtra though, a win in their next game would be imperative to get their momentum back on track as they look to repeat their title winning march in 2000.

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13.03.2017: PUNJAB 2-1 RAILWAYS
PUN : Rajbir Singh 13',60'.
RAIL : Rajesh Soosnayakam 58'

Punjab- Paramjit Singh, Harpal Singh Harshdeep Singh, Harjinder Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Vinay Kumar, Amandeep Singh, Rajbir Singh, Manpreet Singh, Manveer Sing, Shamsher Singh.

One of the favourites for this years title, Punjab got the better of Services 2-1 in the other match played at the Navelim Ground. Punjab took the lead through Rajbir Singh in the 13th minute of play, heading in a beautiful cross from skipper Harshdeep Singh off a free kick. The game stayed that way till half time. After the break, Services came out with renewed vigour and their persistence paid off when Rajesh Soosnayakam equalised in the 58th minute with a brilliant shot from outside the box which beat the Punjab goalkeeper Paramjit Singh all ends up.

However their joy was short lived when just a minute later Punjab regained the lead through another goal from Rajbir Singh who slotted home from close range. Punjab held on to the lead winning their opening game in the group. They next play Mizoram day after tomorrow at Vasco while Railways play Kerala on the same day at Bambolim.