Chandigarh, Jharkhand share honours

M.R. Praveen Chandran
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FOOTBALL / Kivi Sumi and Christopher Kamei star in Nagaland’s big win

FIRST STRIKE:Nagaland’s Kivi Sumi shoots to score against Gujarat in the Santosh Trophy on in Kollam on Friday.— PHOTO: C. SURESH KUMAR
FIRST STRIKE:Nagaland’s Kivi Sumi shoots to score against Gujarat in the Santosh Trophy on in Kollam on Friday.— PHOTO: C. SURESH KUMAR

Chandigarh held Jharkhand to a 1-1 draw in a cluster ‘A’ match of the 67th Santosh Trophy football championship at the Lal Bahadur Stadium on Friday.

The draw makes the final round of matches interesting even as Nagaland kept its hopes alive with a 4-0 win over Gujarat in the second match of the evening. Both Jharkhand and Chandigarh have four points each while Nagaland has three. Gujarat, which slumped to its second defeat, is out of the tournament.

Chandigarh looked sharper and keener in the first half in which it led 1-0. The first chance for Chandigarh came from the influential Pawandeep Singh, who released Harminder Singh with a through ball. The striker deceived his marker and took a shot towards the goal, but Jharkhand goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh pushed it out for a corner.

In the 18th minute, a move initiated by Pawandeep Singh saw Rajan Negi put Harminder in position and this time the striker didn’t make any mistake. Chandigarh continued to press to take a 2-0 lead, but ’keeper Gurpreet rose to the occasion making some extraordinary saves to deny Sonu Majhi and Rajan Negi.

The equaliser came in the 57th minute through a brilliant solo effort by Sanjeev Kumar Singh. Sanjeev forced his way into the Chandigarh penalty box from right and side-stepped two defenders before shooting from an acute angle.

Encouraged by the goal, Jharkhand searched hard for the winner. Biswajith Sardar, after stealing the ball from a defender, missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the 67th minute when he hit the post from close. Despite dominating the match, Gurpreet came to the rescue again in the dying minutes to salvage a point.

Nagaland captain Kivi Sumi and Christopher Kamei struck a brace each as it recorded its first win of the tournament.

Gujarat found the energetic Nagaland side tough to handle.

Kivi gave Nagaland the lead in the 44th minute when his left-footer from top of the box found the back of the net. Kivi doubled the lead when he stabbed in a rebound. Christopher struck in the 74th and 85th minutes to complete a convincing win for his side.

The results: Chandigarh 1 (Harminder Singh 18) drew with Jharkhand 1 (Sanjeev Kumar Singh 56). Nagaland 4 (Kivi Sumi 44, 59; Christopher Kamei 74, 85) bt Gujarat 0.

Saturday's matches: Cluster B: Karnataka v Arunachal Pradesh; Bihar v Daman & Diu.

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