CHENNAI: Host Tamil Nadu could not have asked for a better start to its campaign in the National football championship, for the Santosh Trophy, as it drubbed Rajasthan 7-0 in the inaugural Cluster VIII match at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
Rajasthan had little to show except a shoddy display and a desperate coach (Mohd. Rafeeque) whose gesticulations gave the impression that his wards had forgotten everything he had taught them.
Seldom does a side live on defensive play alone and here too it was recklessness that helped Tamil Nadu find various avenues to the goal. To that extent Rajasthan helped Tamil Nadu to get its position play in order.
The regulation goals explained that and a stage came when every action at the Rajasthan end seemed to culminate in a goal.
Tamil Nadu led 3-0 at half-time through goals by Riju (14th minute), Pradeep (27th) and Suresh Kumar (47th).
In the second session, Suresh Kumar (54th), Riju (77th), Ravanan (82nd) and Riju (84th) found the net.
Earlier, the championship was inaugurated by B. Sivanthi Adityan, President, TNOA.
Prize for highest scorer
Meanwhile, WinWind, a wind energy company has come forward to offer Rs. 1 lakh cash prize to the top-scorer in the championship. The award will be presented by the Managing Director of the company, Rajindra Valsalan, on the final day.
Tripura beats HP
In another match in the same cluster, Tripura having an upper hand right through translated it into a comfortable 2-0 win over Himachal Pradesh.
Both goals came off substitutes, the first by Paltu Dutta Chowdhury (46th) and the next by Rupak Mazumdar (71st).
TN 7 (Riju 14, 77, 84; Pradeep 27, Suresh Kumar 47, 54; Ravanan 82) bt Rajasthan 0.
Tripura 2 (Paltu Dutta Chowdhury 46, Rupak Mazumdar 71) bt HP.
Monday’s match: Haryana v Gujarat, 4 p.m.