Karnataka keep semis hopes alive

Karnataka keep semis hopes alive

Karnataka outplayed Manipur 3-1 and kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals of the 67th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium here on Monday.

Karnataka, who had lost to West Bengal 0-1 in their opening Group D quarterfinal league tie, now have three points and are in second place.

Punjab occupy the top spot with six points after edging Bengal 4-3 in the early kick-off.
Karnataka need to win their final group game against Punjab on Wednesday by a big margin to advance to the last-four stage. Punjab enjoy a goal difference of +4, while Karnataka’s goal difference is + 1. Punjab, however, just need a draw to advance to the semis. Bengal, who meet Manipur in their final tie, have three points with a goal difference of zero.

The pair of V Stephen and S Rajesh was back to goal-scoring ways as Karnataka put Manipur under early pressure. Stephen drew first blood in the third minute, while Rajesh doubled the lead seven minutes later. Manipur pulled one back through Meino in the 63rd  minute. However, Amoes made the game safe for Karnataka with a strike in the 83rd minute.

Manipur are now out of the competition following their second successive loss.
Meanwhile, defending champions Services routed Madhya Pradesh 6-0 in Group A at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

Railways scored a hard-fought 2-1 win over Odisha in the other group game.
Both Services and Railways have four points each. Odisha are on three points, while MP bowed out after their second loss on the trot.

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