Super-sub V. Ashok Kumar scored in the injury-time to help Tamil Nadu down Goa 3-2 in a Group ‘B’ league match of the 68th National football championship for the Santosh Trophy at Siliguri on Thursday.
Having secured a 2-0 lead by the 31st minute, Tamil Nadu emerged the deserving winner.
S. Karthik opened the account in the 13th minute through an assist by seasoned Santhakumar.
A. Raegan, another experienced campaigner, doubled the lead in the 31st minute after getting an assist from captain P. Sudhakar, who headed down a cross from Santhakumar.
Goa, the five-time champion, came back with two quick goals from Joel Sequeira, who scored the first in the injury-time of the opening half before equalising six minutes into the second-half.
Tamil Nadu regrouped after seeing the advantage neutralised and managed to find the winner just when the match appeared to be heading for a draw.
Ashok Kumar, a 61st minute substitute for Santhakumar, justified coach C.M. Ranjith’s faith by finding the net in the injury time when Raegan created the chance with a nice dummy after substitute H. Ameerudeen had set the ball on the goalmouth.
Describing the win as a “fair result”, coach Ranjith said his team put up a good show and did not deserve anything less than a win. The win took Tamil Nadu’s tally to three points from two matches and kept it in the hunt for a semifinal berth. Goa remained on one point after two outings.Bengal held
In the other match of the same group played under lights, 31-time champion Bengal drew with former champion Punjab 0-0. Bengal opened its account while Punjab took its tally to two.
The results: Tamil Nadu 3 (S. Karthik 13, A. Raegan 31, V. Ashok Kumar 90+1) bt Goa 2 (Joel Sequeira 45+1, 51); Bengal 0 drew with Punjab 0.