Kerala pump six past Tamil Nadu to qualify for Santosh Trophy
Kozhikode: Kerala only needed a draw against neighbours Tamil Nadu to qualify for the final rounds of Santosh Trophy championship; but that did not stop the hosts from scoring six without reply at the corporation (EMS) stadium here on Saturday.
The Santosh Trophy south zone qualifier match between the neighbouring states was a one sided affair throughout the 90 minutes and even in injury time. Kerala scored two goals in added time.
Kerala opened the scoring through P. V. Vishnu in the 24th minute. Midfielder Jijo Joseph evaded three Tamil Nadu defenders before passing the ball to Vishnu, who finished calmly. Jithin M. S. doubled Kerala’s lead in the 33rd minute after a fine solo effort. Leone Augustine failed to score in the 42nd minute but Jithin made it 3-0 in the 45th minute.
Kerala took their foot off the accelerator in the second half but continued to dominate Tamil Nadu. In the 83rd minute, substitute Mousoof Naizan’s bullet shot from outside the box added to Tamil Nadu’s misery. The score was 4-0 and Tamil Nadu had given up by then.
After 90 minutes, the referee added on four minutes for injuries and substitutions. In the second minute of added time, Jijo joseph scored his second and Kerala’s fifth. Two minutes later, another substitute Emil Benny completed the rout by scoring the sixth goal. The forward showed some good dribbling skills to get his name on the scoresheet.
With the result, Kerala qualified from Group A as champions and without conceding. Earlier, Kerala had dismantled Andhra Pradesh 5-0. Meanwhile, Karnataka qualified from Group B. Kerala is qualifying for the final rounds of the championship after a year's absence. They had failed to make it to the final round last time around.