Pondicherry wins an insipid match

Sports Reporter

TIRUCHI: By defeating Andhra Pradesh through a solitary goal, Pondicherry bagged its lone win in its last match of the South Zone National under-21 football championship at St. Joseph's College HSS here on Saturday, to finish third among the four teams. Andhra Pradesh with a no-win record remains at the bottom.

The match on Saturday between the two was purely academic. Sargunam's strike in the 61st minute failed to produce the spark as the teams played out an unimaginative 90 minutes.

Balaguru, Pondicherry's key striker, was so obsessed with the ball he forgot that there are others waiting for his pass. Ganesan, Senthil Kumaran and Karthick just made up the numbers.

Andhra Pradesh's performance was in keeping with the way it has played in the last two matches. AP should have gone ahead in the 16th minute if not for a goal-line save by defender Manimaran, who pushed away just in time, a shot from Md. Nissar Ahamed.

But the best opportunity to score came to Pondicherry's Senthil Kumaran in the 82nd minute. With the chasing defender having given up hope, Kumaran had ample time to tap the ball home. And he missed the target completely. Towards the close, a fierce shot from the right by substitute Elavarasu was well deflected by Balaguru into the post, but it was ruled offside.

Sunday's match: Kerala v Karnataka.

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