Punjab retains Santosh trophy title after thrashing Services

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Srinagar, Jun 15 (UNI) Punjab beat Services by a solitary goal through a penalty kick in the second half to retain the 62nd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy at the Bakshi Stadium here today.

It was a sweet revenge as Punjab had lost 1-2 against Services in their quarter-final league match.

Both teams went full steam from the word go and created several scoring chances but failed to convert any of the oppotrtunities.

After a goalless first half, Punjab made several foryas into the Services danger zone but could not score. However, in the 54th minute Sukwinder Singh made a solo attempt and beat the goalkeeper only to find a defender in front.

Sukwinder later sent the ball into the 'D' where K P Kabol chested it down. However, the ball touched his left hand and the referee Dinesh Nair awarded a penalty kick despite protests from Services players.

The Punjab striker Balraj Singh made no mistake and put the ball into the net.

The Services went all out and made a number of scoring chances but their forwards muffed them all.

The Services earned as many as five corner shots but could not get the equaliser due to brilliant saves by the Punjab goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.

Balraj Singh, came as a substitute in the second half and in the 75th minute, he made a brilliant try from the top of the box, but the Services goalkeeper saved it.

However, Shaji D'silva of Services made a try in the 83rd minute to score but it was again saved by the Punjab goalkeeper.

Eight-time winner, Punjab edged out Karnataka 4-3 in the semi-finals via the tie-breaker to enter the final of the tournament, while Services defeated last year's runners-up West Bengal 4-1.

Services, one-time winner and four-time runners-up of the championship, had emerged as a surprise package in this tournament and won all their three quarter-final league matches to top ''Group-A'' with nine points.

Services stunned Punjab 2-1 in their quarter-final league match.

The 23-year-old, S Raleng of Services, who was the top scorer of the tournament with 13 goals, was awarded player of the tournament.


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