A superb hat-trick from V Stephen saw Karnataka drub minnows Daman & Diu 4-1 in their second Cluster B encounter in the 67th Santosh Trophy national football championship at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium here on Tuesday.
This is Karnataka’s second straight win. Daman & Diu’s solitary goal came from Sachin Kumar D Mangela in the 49th minute.
Karnataka started their campaign on a positive note and mounted pressure on the Daman & Diu defense. Karnataka’s first chance came in the 15th minute folowing a bout of exchanges between Edwin Goshula and T Amoes. However the latter’s right footer went awry. Three minutes later Rajesh S, missed converting a fine pass from G Vignesh. Continuing to press hard Rajesh made amends in the 24th minute. With fine anticipation he headed home a cross from the right.
The Daman and Diu defence was tested time and again by the striking trio of Amoes-Stephen-Rajesh. Daman & Diu’s custodian Pulkit Rajan Mehta diligently parried several shots at the goal before he was beaten in 39th minute by Stephen’s header off a corner kick taken by M Lokesh.
At the fag end of the first half, Karnataka had a couple of chances but failed to capitalise.
In the second half Daman & Diu tried desperately to reduce the margin and finally succeeded in the 49th minute off their very first worthwhile move. Sachin Kumar D Mangela connected a corner kick to make 1-2.
Daman’s hopes of a fightback was shattered when Stephen scored his second goal in the 64th minute. He made the best off a feeble return by Pulkit.
Stephen completed his hat-trick five minutes before close off a short pass from substitue V Vinoth to seal Daman & Dia’s fate.
HP Salvage Draw
In the other match of Cluster B, 10-men Himachal Pradesh came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw against Arunachal Pradesh.
Techi Takar converted a penalty to put Arunachal in front just before half-time. A few minutes later, Likang Bungung made it 2-0. Himachal made it 1-2 in the 75th minute through Chandan Kumar’s volley and the equaliser came off a spot kick scored by Kulbir Singh.
On Wednesday, Gujarat will play Jharkhand while Nagaland take on Chandigarh.