Goa, Manipur snatch
Goa entered the semi-finals of the 58th National Football Championship, for the Santosh Trophy, prevailing over Karnataka 2-1 in a Group C quarter-final league match at the Khuman Lampak main stadium in Imphal on Wednesday.
The winners, who topped Group C, with six points, led 2-0 at half-time.
Goa will meet Manipur in the semi-finals. The latter made the grade after drawing 2-2 with Tamil Nadu in the last quarter-final league match and topping Group D on better goal difference.
Goa went into the lead in the second minute, when Jules Dias
Alberto scored off a penalty after the Karnataka custodian tripped
Menino Fernandes inside the box.
Savio Pereira then provided a measured cross to Sukhdev Arvade, who headed the ball into the net in the 38th minute to make the scoreline 2-0.
For the Karnataka, the lone goal was scored by
Parameshwaran, in the 55th minute.
Manipur and Tamil Nadu were locked 1-1 at the breather. K Kulothungan put Tamil Nadu ahead in the sixth minute while N. Uttam Singh restored parity for the hosts in the 24th.
L Tiken Singh made it 2-1 for Manipur in the 69th minute, but an injury time goal by K. Kumaravel
enabled Tamil Nadu forced a draw though it was not enough to help them to advance to the next round.
The Goa-Karnataka match got off to a rousing start. In the second minute, Menino Fernandes was illegally tackled by Karnataka custodian Mark Mascarenhas as he was well-poised to score and referee Rizwanil Haque had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Jules Alberto converted without much
fuss to make it 1-0 for last year's runners-up.
Buoyed by their early success, Goa piled pressure on the Karnataka goal but some rough tackling by the Karnataka defenders prevented them from increasing the lead. In the process, Goa striker sameer Naik was shown the yellow card after retaliating to a body check.
In the 38th minute, under severe pressure, the Karnataka defence relented as Savio Pereira sent in a measured cross, which was brilliantly headed home by a diving Sukhdev Arvade.
Going into the second-half with a two-goal advantage, Goa surprisingly relaxed and were content to hold possession. It allowed the Karnataka players to strike up a rhythm and get a look at the Goa goal.
In the 55th minute, Jagadish Kumar gave a measured pass
to Parameshwaran, who headed the ball into goal to pull one back for Karnataka.
Stung by a goal, Goa tightened their game in the last 20 minutes of the match and came close to scoring in the 70th minute but Francis Silviera missed a golden chance from close range.
The Manipur - Tamil Nadu match was a thriller. Tamil Nadu, down to eight men, came up with a fighting display but found the all-round superiority of the hosts too hard to match.
The partisan crowd of over 20,000 were stunned when Francis Baruah won a beautiful ball and passed to P Muthu, who in turn gave it to Kulothungan, who easily scored to put Tamil Nadu ahead.
It seemed to be a perfect tonic for the fast moving local boys who immediately shifted gear and started attacking through former India player K Rennedy Singh and strikers Bijen
and L Tikken Singh.
In the 24th minute Uttam Kumar sent a long sideline throw which was perfectly headed by N Uttam Singh for the equaliser.
Barely three minutes later Tamil Nadu seemed to be
heading for another goal but Suresh Kumar missed an easy
In the 30th minute referee M K Roy, who had earlier
warned Tamil Nadu's F Jagan, showed him a red card for a rough
tackle which was followed by heated arguments between the
players and the referee.
In the next 15 minutes Manipur made several forays into
the rivals citadel but failed to score. Their efforts finally
paid off in the 68th minute when they shot into the lead. L
Manitombi Singh sent in a measured pass to L Tikken Singh, who
scored with a diving header.
Another red card was shown to Tamil Nadu striker K
Kulothungan. But despite being reduced to just eight men, they
displayed some attacking football in the last 20 minutes,
desperately wanting a win to go to the semi-finals. They finally did succeed in scoring through K. Kumaravel but the draw was not enough to see them advance to the next stage.
Complete Coverage: Santosh Trophy 2002