Heavy weights West Bengal’s campaign in the 67th Santosh Trophy came to a halt despite defeating Manipur 4-2 in a quarterfinal match at LBS stadium here. Bengal had an outside chance had they won the match by a bigger margin, but the 31 time champions floundered more than half a dozen chances. Bengal’s goals came through Jagannath Sana, Nabin Hela, Snehasis Dutta and Dipendu Biswas while TH Premkumar Meitei struck twice for Manipur.
Bengal started on a positive note and in the 4th minute opened the account through Jagannath Sana’s close ranger. In the 17th Nabin Hela, swelled the lead when he placed one home after pouncing on a ball that ricocheted off M Raj Singh, the custodian. In the second half, when it appeared as if Bengal’s verve had died down, left winger Snehasis Dutta caught hold of a rebound and sent it past the goalie to make it 3-0. In the 80th, Premkumar controlled Francis Xavier’s shot that bounced off the keeper and guided it to the left of the post. And against the run of play, Premkumar, in the injury time consolidated the score 3-2, from Imran Khan’s pass. And just before the final whistle Dipendu Biswas sent one past the keeper to raise the lead 4-2.
PUNJAB IN SEMIS
Punjab defeated a lacklustre Karnataka 2-0 to enter the semifinals. With three straight wins, Punjab secured nine points. In their earlier matches Punjab had beaten Manipur 3-0 and West Bengal 4-3. Both the goals for Punjab were scored by Premkumar in the 11th and 15th minute. In another match, reigning champions Services also moved into the semis after blanking Odisha 2-0 in their final quarterfinal league match at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi.