State Bank of Travancore (SBT) drubbed Kerala Police 5-1 to win the title in the SBT-G.V. Raja all-India football tournament at the University Stadium here on Tuesday.
The final turned out be anti-climactic as the policemen choked again and gave an awful display on the field. Even the introduction of I.M. Vijayan early in the second half failed to inspire the policemen, though he played his part by winning the penalty which reduced SBT’s victory margin.
The Bankmen gave a near flawless display and overwhelmed its rival in all aspects of the game. The only bolt in its copy book was the needless penalty it conceded when Vijayan was brought down inside the penalty box in the 82nd minute.
After dominating the proceedings early in the first-half, SBT went ahead in the 12th minute when a rasping left-footer from 35 yards by V.K. Shibin Lal beat the Police custodian Melbin, who had strayed out from his line. The goal saw a flurry of moves from SBT and a through pass from the middle saw Usman enter the box unchallenged. The striker foxed the goalkeeper and two defenders to score the second goal in the 18th minute.
The two goals woke up the Policemen from their slumber and it was followed by a brief period of riposte from Kerala Police. But the SBT defence was sharp and most of the police moves were nipped before they became threatening.
A fast counter-attack initiated by Rinil saw Sumesh arrow in a cross from the left and Noushad sneaked in to score the third goal in the 38th minute. Rinil completed SBT’s dominance by scoring from a corner kick in the 42nd.
Kerala Police coach Shimjith made two changes at half-time, bringing in the second ’keeper Nishad in place of the off-colour Melbin and Vijayan for Jipson. But they had little impact as SBT surged ahead in the 59th minute when Usman brilliantly connected a precise cross from Noushad on the right flank.
Vijayan tried his best to rally his teammates around. But his deft flicks and occasional defence-splitting passes found no takers and invariably ended at the feet of SBT defenders. SBT was reduced to 10 men when C.J. Rinil was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 80th minute. Two minutes later, Vijayan was brought down and the resultant penalty was converted by captain Shareef.
The result: SBT 5 (Shibin Lal 12, Usman 18 & 59, Noushad 38, C.J. Rinil 43) bt Kerala Police 1 (Shareef 82).