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Maharashtra, Kerala in battle for semis

CUTTACK: Former champions Maharashtra and Kerala didn’t turn heads with their performance in the last two or three editions of the National Football Championship for theSantosh Trophy.

Having qualified from the clusters and being placed in the toughest quarterfinal Group A – that also included Bengal and Punjab, the two most successful teams in the competition’s history – few expected them to do any better in the ongoing 66th edition here. But they’ve surprised many and as they head into their quarterfinal league clash on Tuesday at the Barabati, one of them are poised to make the semis.

The last time Kerala and Maharashtra had reached the semis was in 2006, and incidentally, they had gone down to Bengal and Punjab, respectively.

Maharashtra, who are on six points after having beaten both Bengal and Punjab, are better placed as they will go through if the match ends in stalemate. Kerala (4 points), on the other hand, need to win to knock out Maharashtra.

Maharashtra coach Irenio Vaz, though, has just erased the draw option from his thoughts. “I have told the boys to completely forget about the draw and just go for a win,” he said.

The only change Vaz is likely to make from the XI is a forced one – putting in goalkeeper Shiekh Alim in place of the suspended Kunal Sawant (double booking).

Manipur need to hold Goa

Last year’s runners-up Manipur need just a point from their last quarterfinal league match against Goa, on Tuesday, to move up from Group B. Both Manipur and Goa have six points from two wins each.

Haryana hold Odisha 1-1

Hosts Odisha failed to secure their second win on the trot when they were held 1-1 by Haryana in their quarterfinal Group C clash, at the Barabati Stadium on Monday.

After Haryana striker Abhishek had put his team ahead as early as the eighth minute, Antu Murmu equalized for Odisha in the first half itself, but failed to find the winning goal.

Odisha, who had defeated Chattisgarh 4-0 in their first match, now have four points from two matches while Haryana secured their first point from the draw. The hosts began on an aggressive note and could have opened the scoring in the fourth minute but Murmu’s shot game to grief on the post.

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Posted by on May 22 2012. Filed under Kerala News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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