Wednesday, July 21, 2010

64th Santosh Trophy pre-quarter final: Hmar hammers Maharashtra, takes Karnataka to quarter-final


Playing the toughest match so far in the artificial pitch of Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Salt Lake, Kolkata, Karnataka beat Maharashtra 1-0 in the pre-quarter final of the 64th Santosh Trophy. The most-important goal was scored in the 2nd minute of extra-time by MEG striker, Ngurneilal Hmar.

This is the 3rd consecutive time Karnataka has beaten Maharashtra in Santosh Trophy. The state selectors reposed faith on Hmar’s ability, and he has truly been the find of the tournament.

It was a tough match for Karnataka, Maharastra team comprised of several top I-league players. This was state team’s 3rd match in Santosh Trophy and they’ve played in a new ground in as many matches. Moreover, the Salt Lake stadium's artificial pitch was new to the team.
 
Karnataka didn't go on attack from the beginning, wanted to settle down, measure the opponent’s strength, and then go for attack. In the first-half, team adopted cautious approach and only started attacking in the second-half. The early goal in the extra-time (first-half) was the outcome of the strategy.

Garden City Soccer Stars talked to coach Aslam Khan just after the match, and he rightfully sounded upbeat, “We’ve taken match by match and happy about our progress. Now we can sit and plan for the quarters.”

Asking about the dependence of veteran players like R C Prakash, coach sounded logical, "R C is definitely not a full-time player, I use him for 40-45 minutes as his skill is still intact, and then replace him with youngsters. Not to forget the amount of experience he has in playing these conditions.” 
 
“Also, Sathish jr. is carrying a hamstring injury, I don’t want to take risk by bringing him early in the match.” said Aslam Khan.

After crashing out due to a poor referring decision in the last edition, it has been a good going for Karnataka so far. 

Now they will team-up in a group of 4 in the quarter final round. 2 last year semifinalist team getting direct entry and another winner from pre-quarter final will comprise a quarter-final group.