Karnataka oust Maharashtra from Santosh Trophy

June 5th, 2009 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 5 (IANS) Karnataka ended Maharashtra’s campaign in the 63rd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy with a 2-0 win in a Group B quarterfinal league match at the Nehru Stadium here Friday to move closer to booking a semi-final berth.
Sanath Kumar (25th) and substitute Dada Nabeel (67th) fetched Karnataka three valuable points after their goalless draw with Goa.

Maharashtra, who had lost their opening fixture to Services are thus out of the competition and have themselves to blame for their exit.

After some early forays, Maharashtra seemed to have lost the plot and with their defence turning laden footed, Karnataka had the field open.

In fact, Karnataka could have won by a bigger margin but for some wayward shooting and poor finish by their forwards. A couple of goal-line stops by defender Anes Edathodika also denied Karnataka more success.

Maharashtra, who had ousted fancied Kerala in the pre-quarterfinals, marked their presence with a few pot shots at the Karnataka goal, but of more relevance was their performance at the back where far too many mistakes were committed.

Among the most glaring was when Sanath, put through by a clever lob from Prakash, was allowed to elude an off-side trap to make a run and slot the ball home for the first goal that all but sealed Maharashtra’s fate.

Maharashtra all but equalised two minutes later when Sampath Kumar’s header came off the post after some good approach work by Asim Hasan.

Karnataka then took a grip on the proceedings and went on to dominate as it became a one-way affair.

With a goal behind, Maharashtra picked up the gauntlet early in the second-half before falling back. The closest they came during this period was when Steven Benedict Dias put through Santosh Koli who headed straight to goalkeeper Gumpe Rime.

Karnataka then took charge and scored again when Nabeel, who replaced Sanath, deftly sidestepped Anes Edathodika after receiving a cross from Rajendra Prasad and found the back of the net to effectively close out the match.

Thereafter, Maharashtra made a few feeble attempts that were easily repelled by an alert Karnataka defence that on the day gave little away.

In the closing minutes, Karnataka made some concerted effort to boost their goals tally as insurance in the event of a tie for the top two Group A positions, but they never had a clear opening.

Saturday’s fixtures:

Group A: Tamil Nadu vs Manipur (4 pm); Bengal vs Punjab (6.30 pm)

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