KOZHIKODE : When Jockson Dhas A opened the scoring with a screamer in the 32nd minute, Tamil Nadu must have thought it was going to be their day. But Arjun Tudu again came to Services’ rescue at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on Tuesday.
Trailing by a goal at half time, Services changed gears in the second half, their prolific striker scored the equaliser in the 53rd minute, before winning a penalty that was converted by Britto in the 72nd minute to seal their comeback victory.
Along with hosts Kerala, Services progressed to the final round of the 71st Santosh Trophy from the South Zone, and will look to get their hands on the title for the third season running. For Tudu, he ended the qualifiers as top-scorer, netting four goals from three games.
After the match, the striker from Jamshedpur, who also scored the winner in last year’s final against Maharashtra, said that Services were always confident of getting a result in the crucial group match.
“Tamil Nadu are a balanced side and we were worried when they scored first. But once we leveled the scores, I was confident that we would hold on or score another,” said Tudu.
“South zone is always the toughest, and a huge test,” he added.
Despite being a part of Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League, as well as Stephen Constantine’s national camp prior to the SAFF Championship in 2015, Tudu harbours a special love for the national football championships. “Santosh Trophy has a rich history, and I grew watching this tournament,” Tudu noted.
“Though ISL is professional, we have enough quality here, and AIFF scouts should be come over here as well,” he opined.
Still only 26, Tudu has time on his side, and is looking to get a call-up to the national team again. “My objective is to do my level best in the final legs and score as many goals as I can. We’ll have a few days off now, and then we’ll work hard again.”
Historic win for Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep recorded a historic first win in the Santosh Trophy after defeating Telangana 1-0 on Tuesday. Ummer KP scored the sole goal in the 54th minute, helping the islanders finish third in Group B in their first appearance in the national championships.