Manipur versus Goa match in progress in Itanagar | AIFF

Goa and Services have booked their spots in the 77th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy, at the Golden Jubilee Stadium in Yupia, Itanagar on March 7.

Goa laboured to beat a spirited Manipur side 2-1 deep into the extra time, while Services earned a victory by the same margin after 90 minutes against Mizoram.

Goa came back from the dead to beat Manipur 2-1 in extra time to ensure their 14th appearance in the Santosh Trophy final. While Ngangbam Pacha Singhput Manipur in the lead in the 18th minute, Necio Maristo Fernandes (90+6’, 116) struck twice to take Goa into the final.

In what was a highly spirited game, Goa looked all but ready to go back home after Ngangbam Pacha Singh put Manipur in front, but Goa’s Necia Maristo Fernandes scored a brace to win it for Goa.

It was a high-tempo start to the game, with frequent chances at both ends.

Goa finally got the equalizer deep into injury time (the referee gave eight minutes of it). From a melee inside the box, Necio Maristo Fernandes produced a moment of brilliance, as he acrobatically back-volleyed it into the goal from inside the box, sending the game into extra time.

Manipur came back strongly in extra time, while Goa, looked to hit on the counter. It was deep in the second half of extra time, with only four minutes left on the clock, that Necio Fernandes struck again. With much less elegance when compared to the first goal, but a goal that did the job for his side nonetheless.

A flurry of red cards ensued as tempers flared at the end of the match. Manipur head coach Thangjam Saran Singh and a team staff member were shown the red card just after Goa’s second goal, while substitute Sushilkumar Singh was sent off in the sixth minute of injury time in extra time.

Manipur 1 (Ngangbam Pacha Singh 18’)

lost to

Goa 2 (Necio Maristo Fernandes 90+6’, 116’)

Mizoram Santosh Trophy
Action moment from the match between Services and Mizoram in Itanagar on March 7 | AIFF

Services edge Mizoram

Reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute, six-time champions Services ended Mizoram’s fine run in the tournament with a 2-1 victory in front of a vociferous crowd that kept getting louder as the minutes wore on. Goals from Rahul Ramakrishnan (21’) and Bikash Thapa (83’) took Services to their 12th final in the Santosh Trophy. Malsawmfela (90+3’) scored the only goal for Mizoram.

The dominance of Services was evident from the start as they controlled the tempo with authority, though the Mizoram’s defence managed to hold firm. Services displayed their intent as early as in the 8th minute with Vijay’s dynamic run down the right wing. He was all set to get the first shot on target but was denied by a resolute Mizoram defence.

It was Services, who eventually found the breakthrough in the 21st minute. Capitalising on a cross from the left, Rahul calmly slotted the ball into the top corner with a clinical left-footer.

Mizoram posed a real threat for the first time in the 24th minute when Malsawmtluanga’s free-kick narrowly missed the target. Services goalkeeper Sayad Bin Abdul Kadir judged the ball well, making a slight jump to his right to gather it cleanly.

The final rounds of the Santosh Trophy are being organized in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time. Last time the Santosh Trophy final and semifinals were held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Services 2 (Rahul Ramakrishnan 21’, Bikash Thapa 83’)


Mizoram 1 (Malsawmfela 90+3’)

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