Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Karnataka edge out Mizoram 1-0, reach semi final

AIFF Media 

Karnataka ended their 72nd Santosh Trophy Group campaign with a 1-0 win over Mizoram to book a semifinal spot at the Mohun Bagan Ground today.

Rajesh S scored the solitary goal in the game in the 74th minute. The result meant Karnataka ended up topping the group, edging Mizoram on their superior head to head record. Mizoram too advanced to the semi-finals as the runners up from Group B.

The Southern state started off brightly with Leon Augustine, the right winger and striker Rajesh S. creating a host of opportunities, although wasteful. Mizoram goalkeeper Andrew Lalhmingliana made two good stops in the first ten minutes itself.

Mizoram’s first good chance arrived in the 13th minute when Malsawmzuala MC’s freekick could only be headed inches over the bar by Lalrammawia. A minute later, Rajesh S broke on the counter and played a diagonal ball to Augustine. The winger then found his skipper Vignesh Gunashekar outside the box but his shot too, went over.

Lalmuanzova was a menace down the right flank. Winning a corner from Lalrammawia’s pass, his flagkick was well headed forward by defender Lalmuanawma on the edge of the box. Malsawmzuala MC attempted an overhead bicycle kick which failed to pay dividends, all within twenty minutes of the game.

Karnataka custodian Shainkhan CP was forced into making a quick save from Lalmuanzova’s angled shot and Sukesh Leon tracked back to make a goal line clearance from the ensuing corner.

Rajesh S and Leon Augustine made life tough for the Mizoram backline but they held on well. Lalhmingliana appeared to be a bit slippery while collecting balls but the goalkeeper ensured that his sides did not concede any as the deadlock was yet to be broken in the first half.

Seven minutes into the second half, Mizoram got yet another opportunity from Muanzova’s corner kick. Malsawmzuala MC flicked the ball past the ‘keeper who was off his line but Shahabaaz Khan made a goal line clearance.

On the counter, Lithon Shil played a one-two with Leon Augustine on the run and the latter, who took a swipe from 19 yards saw his curling shot only nestle the top-netting.

All those chances yielded success in the 74th minute when Sukesh Leon’s flag-kick resulted in a goalmouth melee but Rajesh S, showing great presence of mind slotted the ball from close space.

Behind by a goal, frustration showed for Mizoram as the head coach Lalsangzuala Hmar was sent to the stands for arguing with the referee and then Malsawmzuala MC too went into the book for a rough tackle.

Lalromawia was brought in with four minutes left in regulation time but the midfielder, who had scored four goals in the tournament so far failed to live upto the expectations.

Both sides finished with nine points each from four games but Karnataka won the group. Mizoram face Kerala while Karnataka set up a date against hosts Bengal in the semis on March 30.