Kolkata: Former champions West Bengal and Goa will face each other in the summit clash of the 71st Santosh Trophy football tournament after their respective semifinal victories here on Thursday.
While Bengal prevailed over Mizoram 6-5 via sudden death in the first semifinal, hosts Goa beat Kerala 2-1 in the second last-four match today.
Bengal and Mizoram failed to break the deadlock in the regulation and extra time and the match went into penalty shootout, which also was locked at 4-4.
Bengal emerged victorious and made the final for the 44th time after Moirangthem Basanta found the net and Lalbiakhlua’s shot was saved by Sankar Roy.
In the penalty shootout Lalrammawia Rammawia, substitute Ramfangzauva, Lalrammuanpuia, and Lalalrinchhana Rcha were on target for Mizoram, while Fialmuanawma Muanawma’s shot was saved by the rival keeper.
Santu Singh, Manvir Singh, Samad Ali Mallick and Mumtaz Akhtar found the net for the winners. Substitute Monotosh Chakladar’s shot hit the right post. Bengal have won the tournament 31 times.
In the second semifinal, Goa warded off a stiff second half challenge from Kerala to emerge 2-1 winners. Goa who dominated the first half and scored both the goals through Liston Colaco (13th and 36th). Kerala, who dominated the second half, pulled one back in the 61st minute through Rahul V Raj.
Five times champions Goa thus entered the finals for the 13th times. Goa, who did not look impressive in the group stage, were a transformed side today as they played a cohesive game with their midfield and strikers combining like a well oiled machine. The defence too supported well whenever they made attacking moves.
Both the teams played attacking game from the start. Goa kept the attack going with short passes followed by occasional long ball, keeping the rivals defence busy. Their persistent effort finally paid off as they took the lead in the 13th minute.
Defender Peter Carvalho initiated the move from the left as he lobbed the ball for Brain Mascarenhas who ran down the flank and, after entering the box, laid a pass for Liston Colaco who found the net with a deft placement.
Kerala fell apart with their defence wilting under pressure. They conceded another goal when Liston Colaco, who received the ball on the right from Leander D’Cunha, made a solo run and after beating a host of rival defenders sent an angular drive to find the far post.
Kerala were a different side after resumption. They looked more thrustful in their attack and Jishnu Bala Krishnan stretched Goa keeper Bruno Colaco to make a diving save soon after resumption.
Goa’s midfield failed to function properly, allowing Kerala to make dangerous forays. Kerala finally succeeded in finding the net in the 61st minute.
Asharudeen floated the ball towards the goalmouth and in the melee, Rahul V Raj found the net with a header.