Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Kerala, Karnataka gear up for Hero Santosh Trophy semi-final clash

AIFF Media 

Karnataka will be vying to move a step closer to winning their fifth Santosh Trophy title on Thursday, April 28, 2022 when they will square off against six times champions Kerala in the first semi-final at the Manjeri Payyanad Stadium, Kerala.

In the second semi-final clash, the most successful team in the history of the Hero Santosh Trophy, West Bengal, will face Manipur on Friday (April 29, 2022) at the same venue. Both the games are scheduled to kick off at 08:30 pm (IST).

Karnataka finished second in Group B with seven points in their kitty. They won two games in the previous round against Gujarat and Services with their only defeat coming at the hands of Manipur. They were held for a 3-3 draw by Odisha in their first game.

“The match against Kerala is going to be very exciting, they have home advantage, but we will give our best in the game. Our team is motivated after our last win and we will not leave any stone unturned to win this one,” Karnataka boss Biby Thomas said.

“We are training hard for the semi-final, we are only focusing on tomorrow's game. I believe we will give our 100% on the field,” Karnataka skipper Sunil Kumar said.

Kerala, meanwhile, progressed to the semi-final round of the tournament after finishing the last round as Group A table-toppers. They collected 10 points from four games and are the only unbeaten side in the tournament.

Kerala captain Jijo Joseph is the tournament's highest scorer so far, and when asked about it, the talismanic star responded, "Scoring isn't essential to me; I just want to win every game, and that is what I am concentrating on right now."

"I am pleased with my performance," he continued, "but the most important thing for me is to win this game and get to the final."

"Karnataka is a good side," Kerala coach Bino George remarked when asked about their opponent. “They were outstanding against Gujarat in their most recent match and are in excellent form."

"All of the teams that have advanced to the semifinals are good, and now it's a do-or-die situation for us," he continued.


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