Tamil Nadu routs Punjab

March 10, 2016 03:48 am | Updated 03:48 am IST - Nagpur:

Raegan (right) struck form at the right time ahead of the semifinals by scoring a hat-trick against Punjab. PHOTO: S. SUDARSHAN

Raegan (right) struck form at the right time ahead of the semifinals by scoring a hat-trick against Punjab. PHOTO: S. SUDARSHAN

Substitute Raegan scored a hat-trick as Tamil Nadu ran riot in the second half to crush Punjab 5-0 in the Santosh Trophy at the SEC Railway Stadium here on Wednesday. The commanding win enabled Tamil Nadu top Pool B with 10 points. It will now meet host Maharashtra in the semifinals.

Tamil Nadu dominated the first half, but couldn’t find the target. Sirajudeen strove manfully to feed Ameeruddin quite a few times, but the striker was wasteful.

The best chance came in the 39th minute when Ameeruddin was sent clear by Sirajudeen. But the striker, in a one-on-one situation with Punjab goalkeeper Kamalpreet Singh, delayed his shot and managed only a feeble attempt which was saved for a corner. During injury time in the first half, Soosairaj hit the bar from close off a Sirajudeen pass.Coach Robin Charles Raja replaced wasteful Ameeruddin with Raegan towards the end of the first half. Raegan started his goal-scoring spree in the 63rd minute after Edwin Sydney had put Tamil Nadu ahead in the 51st minute. The spadework for the opening goal was done by Sathish whose long ball found Edwin free on the left flank. Edwin chipped the ball over the goalkeeper for the first goal.

Sirajudeen grew in confidence and started dissecting the Punjab defence with an assortment of sharp passes and turned provider for three goals in the second half.

Raegan’s opening strike came in the 63rd minute as he made no mistake off a precise centre from Sirajudeen and two minutes later substitute Pradeep increased the lead off another accurate Sirajudeen pass.

Raegan latched on to a long ball which was relayed to him by Pradeep in the 68th minute to score his second. He completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute when he tapped over an advancing goalkeeper Kamalpreet Singh from inside the box. Again, the provider was Sirajudeen from the right.

At the University Ground, Bengal ended its campaign with a 5-1 win over Assam in an inconsequential Pool B encounter. Sheikh Faiz (24, 91) and Narohari Shestha (39, 49) struck a brace each after Dipandu Dowary opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Appuruba Phukan scored the consolation goal for Assam in the 93rd minute.

The results:

Tamil Nadu 5 (Edwin Sydney 51, A. Raegan 63, 68, 87, Pradeep 65) bt Punjab 0.

Bengal 5 (Dipandu Dowary 10, Sheikh Faiz 24, 91, Narohari Shestha 39, 49) bt Assam 1 (Appuruba Phukan 93).

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