Punjab and Services enter semi-finals of Santosh trophy

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Srinagar, Jun 9 (UNI) Defending champion Punjab and Services entered the semi-finals of the 62nd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy defeating Kerala and hosts Jammu and Kashmir respectively in their last quarter-final league match of 'Group-A' at Bakshi stadium here today.

Services won all their three quarter-final league matches to top the pool with nine points, followed by Punjab who got six points and Kerala three while Jammu and Kashmir failed to win any of their league matches.

In the last league match of the quarter-finals, Punjab outplayed Kerala 5-0.

In the first half, both the teams played a controlled game as they failed to score despite making some good moves.

After a goalless breather, Punjab team dominated the proceedings in the second half and launched goal after goal.

Sakartar Singh of Punjab, drew the first blood scoring a brilliant goal in the 10th minute of the second half.

Baljit Sahni made it 2-0 in the 15th minute of the second half.

However, a hat-trick by Balraj Singh extended the lead to 5-0 as he scored three field goals beating the rival's defence.

Kerala also got a number of chances to score but their defenders failed to send the ball in the Punjab goal post.

Earlier, Services defeated hosts Jammu and Kashmir 3-2.

Services stamped their authority over Jammu and Kashmir from the word go as they forged ahead in the 9th minute when S Raleng put the ball into net.

However, Jammu and Kashmir also got a number opportunities to equalise but failed to beat the rival's defence.

Down by a goal at interval, hosts went all out and attacked the Services goal. But they had to wait for the equaliser until 55th minute when Rohit Kumar scored a brilliant goal from the top of the cricle.

However, the joy for the hosts was short-lived as just five minutes later Shahji D Silva made it 2-1 for winners and S Raleng made it 3-1 in favour of Services when he beat the Jammu and Kashmir's goalkeeper 10 minutes later.

Jammu and Kashmir, who lost both their earlier league matches against Kerala and Punjab, could not match their opponents' expertise and failed to find the target.

However, the star striker Ishfaq's header went into the net after beating the rival goalkeeper about 17 minutes before the long whistle.

UNI FMH RAR BD2002

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