Raegan puts TN in semifinals

Striker A. Raegan’s hat-trick helped Tamil Nadu down Punjab 3-2 and earn a semifinal spot in the 68th National football championship for the Santosh Trophy at Siliguri on Monday.

Tamil Nadu, the South Zone champion, made the most of a brilliant partnership between Raegan and captain P. Sudhakar.

The two players galvanised the Tamil Nadu attack and were instrumental in all three goals.

Tamil Nadu pulled ahead in the eighth minute when Sudhakar set up Raegan with a superb through-pass, which the latter finished displaying a fine sense of position.

Punjab came back strongly in the second half and scored two quick goals — Sarbjit Singh (52nd minute) and Harpreet Singh (57th) — to establish a 2-1 lead.

Tamil Nadu, however, regrouped immediately and found the equaliser in the 63rd minute (2-2).

Raegan was in the scoring act again after Sudhakar’s first attempt was cleared from the goalmouth by a Punjab defender.

Raegan completed a hat-trick two minutes later, making use of another Sudhakar assist and finishing spectacularly with a sharp turn.

Tamil Nadu, with six points from two wins and a loss, went to the top of the group and assured itself of a semifinal spot. Railways remained in the second spot with five while Goa was third with four. Punjab, which finished with three points from four games, and host Bengal (two from three matches) crashed out of the tournament.

The second semifinalist and final group positions will be decided after the final round matches on Wednesday.

Bramha spoils Bengal’s party

Earlier, Jelendra Bramha found the equaliser in the last minute of injury-time to help Railways hold Bengal 1-1.

Bengal went 1-0 up in the 21st minute through striker Nilkanta Paria, who found the target off a long throw from Dipak Singh.

However, the host failed to bolster its lead as Railways scored a last-minute equaliser, Bramha finding the target off a cross from Sibra Narzary.

The results:

Group B: Bengal 1 (Nilkanta Paria 21) drew with Railways 1 (Jelendra Bramha 90+3).

Tamil Nadu 3 (A. Raegan 8, 63, 65) bt Punjab 2 (Sarbjit Singh 52, Harpreet Singh 57).

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:01:28 AM |

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