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 October 23, 2002 | 1730 IST

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Karnataka, Punjab, Assam
in last eight

Karnataka had things their way while beating Gujarat 6-0 in Group VII and making it to the quarter-finals in the 58th National Football Championship, for the LG Santosh Trophy, at the Eastern Union Sporting Ground in Imhal on Wednesday.

Leading by striker S Sunil's goal in first-half, Karnataka pumped in five more to oust Gujarat and set up a clash with Punjab, on October 26, and last year runners-up Goa, on October 30, in the quarter-final league.

B V Pradeep and S K Dayananda scored twice each and substitute G Kanikaraj made it 6-0 for the winners. Kanikaraj, who substituted S Sunil in the 70th minute, found the net after Dayananda sent him a floater.

Sunil opened the door for Karnataka in the 30th minute and Pradeep followed it up in the second-half with a precise header, giving Gujarat custodian George Mathew no chance.

Dayananda added to the tally seven minutes later to the joy of the motley crowd that had gathered to watch the game. Pradeep sent home another header for his second goal in the 70 minute and right striker Dayananda also scored his second goal towards the end of the game.

Punjab had to toil hard against Madhya Pradesh to earn a quarter-final berth. The all-important goal came through Sher Singh just three minutes before the end. A goaless draw would have sent Mizoram to the next stage on better goal difference.

Punjab coach Jasbir Singh's instructions, pep talk and vociferous guidelines from the sidelines could not break the ice as the team with five former India internationals, including keeper Virender Singh, toiled to find the mark.

When striker Gurjit Singh Atwal, who gave Punjab 1-0 win with a penalty conversion against Madhya Pradesh in the first match, was replaced by Sher Singh 20 minutes from time, the substitute made amends, scoring with a right-footer in the 87th minute.

Punjab, however, will have problem in the quarter-finals as three of their players were cautioned in today's match. Virender Singh had also a good day under the bar, bringing off three brilliant saves.

Assam, Orissa and Services had a good outing, winning by identical margins of 3-0 over Bihar, Nagaland and Sikkim respectively in their last league encounters.

Assam, in Group V, shot ahead withing six minutes through Utpal Basumatary. Basumatary received a pass from Sanjiba Rongpi and booted home a brilliant goal. But they had to wait till the 52nd minute for the second goal; this time striker Padam Rava headed in from a floater from right flank. They pumped one more goal to take the game out of Bihar. Sanjiba Rongpi made it 3-0 11 minutes before the long whistle.

In the quarter-finals, Assam face former champions Bengal on Friday and Kerala, on October 29.

Orissa's three goals against Nagaland took them to the quarter-finals. Gyanranjan Samal fired in two and Bhawani Mohanti the last to complete the tally.

Orissa were leading by 1-0 at half-time with Samal's 38th minute goal. Mohanti's goal came in 66th minute and Samal sealed the fate of Nagaland four minutes before end.

For Orissa and Nagaland it was do and die match. Orissa's win not only sent Nagaland packing, but also forced Delhi out of contest. While Orissa and Delhi had goalless match in the opener, Nagaland and Delhi made it 1-1 and today's match was crucial for all three. Orissa would now face Manipur on Saturday and Tamil Nadu on October 28.

Services, winners in 1960-61, today also had a field day over Sikkim in Group VI and banged three toals-one before half time and two in the latter half-much to the dismay of the local people.

In the quarter-finals, the armymen meet Maharashtra on Friday and Railways, on October 29.

Complete Coverage: Santosh Trophy 2002