Bengal emerge champions

Bengal emerge champions

Football Santosh Trophy

Bengal emerge champions
Bengal lifted the Santosh Trophy for the 32nd time after Manvir Singh struck in the 119th minute for a 1-0 win over Goa on Sunday, extending their domination in the premier domestic football tournament.

After playing out a goalless 90 minutes, Manvir finally came good in the dying moments of extra time to leave the home crowd shocked at the GMC Stadium.

Entering the title clash on the back of some impressive outings, Manvir was kept quite for a major part of the match but, with barely seconds to go for the final whistle, he found the target with a stunning left-footer, having received a pass from Shaikhom Ronald on the left.

Playing in front of a vociferous home crowd, five-time winners Goa tried their best and controlled the match, but ran out of steam in extra time. The hosts had their chances to score but the rival ’keeper Sankar Roy pulled off some great saves.

Bengal, thus, ended a six-year wait having last won the title in 2011. Goa last won it in 2009.

Goa, who had hosted the tournament thrice, lost to Bengal in the semifinal in 1972 and the final in 1996, while winning against Kerala in 1990.

Goa’s Liston Colaco, who scored a brace against Kerala in their semifinal, had the first try at goal but his well- directed shot missed the target narrowly.

Missed chances
Aaren D’Silva, who was a constant threat to the Bengal defence with his deceptive play, too missed out on a goal as early as the sixth minute.

Six minutes later, he had a glorious chance to score from inside the box but could not connect the ball cleanly.

Thereafter, it was a cagey affair with both teams going through the motions. Bengal defended resolutely and tried to attack on the counter, but the Goan defence was equal to the task.

A speedy Basanta Singh took a shot at the goal but Bruno Colaco did well to collect it and, on another occasion, he was pulled up by the referee for handling the ball after.

The story was quite similar in extra time as both teams failed to break the deadlock until Manvir’s settled the tie in the dying minutes.

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