Lawrence puts Goa in Santosh Trophy final

June 11th, 2009 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 11 (IANS) A penalty by Climax Lawrence in injury time delivered Goa a 1-0 win against a prodigal Tamil Nadu in the semifinals of the 63rd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy here Thursday.
Goa will take on Bengal in the final Sunday while Tamil Nadu would be left to rue the chances they missed and of course, their captain’s blemish at the fag end of the match.

After the match spilled over to injury time at the end of 90 minutes, Tamil Nadu skipper Kulothungan was pulled up for holding substitute Francis Fernandes. Off the resultant penalty, Lawrence calmly slid the ball past goalkeeper Satish Kumar for the match-winner.

After conceding the goal, Tamil Nadu made a last-ditch attempt by throwing all their players into the rival area and Goan goalkeeper and captain Felix D’Souza added to the drama by taking a yellow card for handling the ball outside the penalty area, but denied the hosts an opportunity.

Referee Pratap Singh awarded a free-kick, off which Kulothungan made an attempt for the last try of the match. The Tamil Nadu players, soon after the hooter went at the end of the match, surrounded the referee as the Goans erupted into celebrations.

Tamil Nadu only have themselves to blame for the disaster and for yet another heartbreak on the altar of poor finish and marksmanship.

The teams indulged in a bit of cat-and-mouse game in the first half with the priority being ball possession. In the event, although the teams displayed fair bit of expertise in intra-passing, the end result could not establish any sort of command on the proceedings.

There were a few spells of action, but with both sets of forwards being either wayward or weak in their attempts, it was hardly a surprise that no goals came about in the first session.

Perhaps, the approach to the game was tinged with caution as both knew each other’s ability to score at the first hint of opportunity. However, such sentiments proved to be rather misplaced given the woeful finish of the rival forwards.

A couple of pot shots at the target and some pleasing build up did little to give hopes of a goal. As the time ticked by, it appeared that the outcome would hinge on one critical moment that, however, never came until the injury time blunder in the closing minutes of the game.

Tamil Nadu, boasting of having scored 30 goals in the preliminary league, had the best of chances in the first-half but their forwards, Muthu and Riju fumbled from less than three yards of the goal following a cross from Bengkok that goalkeeper Felix D’Souza failed to intercept.

This 40th minute lapse best exemplified the quality of finish of both sides and it was no surprise that both the teams entered the half-time goalless.

The trend of missing chances continued in the second-half and, if anything, the overall quality of attacks, much less the finish, left a lot to be desired.

Even the set-piece play from free-kicks and corners appeared a tad disjointed with both goalkeepers not really being tested.

Muthu, the hat-trick scorer for Tamil Nadu in the previous game, had another good opportunity to score when he had D’Souza at his mercy, but chose to hit straight and the goalkeeper gratefully collected.

In fact, Tamil Nadu looked the likely team to score as they put together some good moves. However, their old tale of muffing chances continued.

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