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‘It was an open match’

P. Muthu...Player of the Tournament.

P. Muthu...Player of the Tournament.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: R. Ragu

Karthik Krishnaswamy

Chennai: Having lost five times in five previous finals to Bengal, it took the Russian roulette of a penalty shootout for Goa to lay the jinx to rest and clinch its fifth Santosh Trophy.

After an exultant dash onto the pitch following left back Fulgancio Cardozo’s title-winning penalty, and in between acknowledging congratulations from mobile phones thrust at his ears from all sides, Goa coach Mariano Dias said that his players had deserved the win for the openings they created during the game.

“It was an open match and both sides played good football. But I think we created more chances than Bengal,” he said. “When it went into penalties, I knew my keeper (captain Felix D’Souza) would do well.”

Early in the match, Bengal winger Snehasish Chakraborthy had sparkled down the left touchline and Dias said his side dealt adequately with his threat in the second half. “It was one of the things we discussed at half time, and we managed to contain him in the second half.”

Nandy disappointed

Pacing up and down the running track on the perimeter of the pitch, Bengal coach Raghu Nandy wore a subdued look. “We played well, but our strikers didn’t convert their chances. I expected a lot more from Lalam Puia today,” he said.

About halfway into extra time, Nandy had introduced the speedy Kartik Kisku on the right wing, and the winger immediately made an impact, getting past the Goa left back twice. “I think I brought him on at the right time,” he said. “I thought his pace would unsettle the tiring Goa players, and it worked, except that Puia and Lalkamal Bhowmick missed their chances.”

At the post-match ceremony, Tamil Nadu’s P. Muthu was adjudged Player of the Tournament while his striker partner P.C. Riju walked away with the WinWind Golden Foot award for his 12 goals in the tournament. Goa won the Fair Play award.

Moideen Khan, State Minister for Youth Affairs, gave away the trophies.

Felicitated

During the half-time break, the Tamil Nadu Football Association felicitated 16 former and current players who have represented India.

The players felicitated were Simon Sundarraj, Thanapathi, I. Arumainayagam, Celstin, K.S. Raju, Orlando Rayan, Koshy, D. Sekar, Elumalai, Mohammed Amjad, Sabir Pasha, Raman Vijayan, Felix, Sathish, Ravanan, and S. Vasanthi, who played for India in the 2008 Women’s Asian Games in Tehran.

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