Kerala topped Group A when they beat reigning champions West Bengal 1-0 in the ongoing 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Mohun Bagan ground on Tuesday (March 27, 2018).
Rahul KP was the man who got the winning goal from Jithin MS’ cross I the 90th minute. The two teams had already made the semi-finals.
Bengal dominated proceedings initially and enjoyed better ball possession. They got the first major chance to break the deadlock in the 6th minute when attacking midfielder Sandip Bhattacharjee attempted a volley inside the box but the ball went just above the crossbar.
Kerala won a free-kick just outside Bengal’s penalty box in the 13th minute after Jithin MS was brought down. It was their first major chance to score but Lijo S’ shot sailed above the crossbar.
The home side squandered the easiest chance of the first half in the 33rd minute when Sujay Dutta failed to tap the ball in from a handshaking distance. Sandip initiated the move with a through ball for Bidyasagar Singh on the right side of the box. The winger squared the ball for Dutta but he failed to push the ball into the back of the net.
At the stroke of half time, Bengal missed yet another chance. Rajon Barman received a pass from Sandip and forwarded a through ball inside the box eyeing Sourav Dasgupta’s run but Kerala custodian Hajmal S came out of his line in time and collected the ball.
In the 56th minute, the visitors got an opportunity to score the opening goal. Prolific goalscorer Jithin MS received but failed to convert from a one on one position as Ranajit Majumder came out of his line and saved the ball.
Kerala got yet another chance to score in the 69th minute when Afdal failed to trap Jithin’s cross from the right. The striker was inside the six yards’ box but failed to control the ball with his chest as Bengal defenders cleared it.
Bengal’s top scorer Bidysagar Singh came very close to score a goal in the 81st minute when he entered the opponent’s box with a solo run dribbling past three defenders. He attempted to square the ball from a narrow-angle but not a single Bengal player was present in front of the goal to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Kerala scored the winning goal in the 90th minute thanks to a strike from Rahul KP. Jithin MS ran down the right flank and sent a low cross inside the box. Rahul received and pushed the ball into the net.
Kerala reach the semifinals as toppers from the group with 12 points from 4 matches while Bengal finish second with 9 points from 3 matches.