Ujawal Gari’s goal in the 38th minute helped Bihar beat Himachal Pradesh 1-0 in the Cluster B match of the 67th Santosh Trophy at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium here on Thursday. It was Bihar’s second straight win.
In an uneventful first half, Ujawal broke the deadlock off a rebound. Midfielder Samu Hembrom got the ball from the middle and passed it to Shivbrat Gaautam in the box with only a defender and goalkeeper to beat. Shivabrat’s shot was deflected by custodian Ranveer Singh and Ujawal completed the job in clinical fashion.
Himachal had a golden chance as early as the 13th minute but Chandan Kumar’s long ranger missed by a few inches. After the break, the game remained drab though both the teams had some chances.
In the 55th minute, Himachal almost scored an equaliser through Vikrant Rana when he was set up by Chandan Kumar just outside the box. In a one-to-one situation, he got the better of the defender and was set to score. However, goalkeeper Hemant K Gope made an excellent save snatching the ball off Vikrant’s boot, even though he injured his head in the process.
Fifteen minutes later, Kulbir Singh, who had scored the equaliser against Arunachal Pradesh in the previous match, had a chance to score again. He entered the box but his swerving shot was slightly off target.
With 10 minutes remaining, Chandan Kumar took a shot at goal but was denied by the woodwork.
With this victory, Bihar improved their chances of making the quarters while Himachal, with two defeats and a draw, crashed out of the tournament.
On Friday, Jharkhand will play Chandigarh while Gujarat take on Nagaland.
Toko Paliam’s clinical finish aided Arunachal Pradesh overcome Daman & Diu 1-0 in the second match of cluster B. Arunachal took the lead in the 23rd minute through Toko Paliam’s well measured left-footer. The youngster was fed in the box from the right and he rifled it past goalkeeper Pulkit Rajan Mehta. The game however failed to pick up pace and after a dull first half, Arunachal shifted ears. In the 65th and 70th they came close to scoring the second but poor finishing proved costly. Arunachal have 4 points from three matches. Daman & Diu are yet to open their account.