Santosh Trophy | Jithin Gopalakrishnan fires Kerala to a big win over Jammu & Kashmir

FOOTBALL | Goa held to a 1-1 draw by Gujarat which makes Kerala favourite to top the group

October 13, 2023 07:38 pm | Updated 07:38 pm IST - BENAULIM (Goa)

Kerala midfielder Jithin Gopalakrishnan, centre, who scored two goals, tries to shake off his markers in the Santosh Trophy Group ‘A’ match against Jammu and Kashmir in Benaulim, Goa on Friday.

Kerala midfielder Jithin Gopalakrishnan, centre, who scored two goals, tries to shake off his markers in the Santosh Trophy Group ‘A’ match against Jammu and Kashmir in Benaulim, Goa on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Midfielder Jithin Gopalakrishnan scored twice as Kerala crushed Jammu and Kashmir 6-1 for its second win in the Group ‘A’ league of the 77th Santosh Trophy National football championship at the SAG Benaulim Ground here on Friday.

Kerala, which blanked Gujarat 3-0 in its opener on Wednesday, is now on top of the five-team group with six points from two wins. Former champion Kerala meets Chhattisgarh next on October 15.

Meanwhile, host Goa, which beat Chhattisgarh 1-0 in its opener earlier, was forced to a 1-1 draw by Gujarat in another Group ‘A’ match on Friday. That result should now make Kerala a favourite to top the top.

The group topper will automatically qualify for the 12-team main phase which will be held in Arunachal Pradesh later this year. Three of the best second-placed teams from the six groups will also enter the final phase and joining them will be defending champion Karnataka, last edition’s runner-up Meghalaya and host Arunachal Pradesh.

The results: Kerala 6 (Jithin Gopalakrishnan 8 & 55; E. Sajeesh 14, Muhammed Ashiq Shoukathali 45+1, K. Abdu Raheem 67, Riswanali Edakkavil 74) bt Jammu & Kashmir 1 (Faizal Maqsood Thakur 61).

Goa 1 (Jobern Cardozo 90+9) drew with Gujarat 1 (Chunsaba Bariam 58).

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