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Punjab inch closer to qualification

Punjab State Team

Punjab State Team

The 68th Santosh Trophy 2014 North Zone Group B qualifiers continued with wins for Punjab and Uttar Pradesh at the Ambedkar Stadium on Sunday.

Match 1 | Punjab 1-0 Jammu & Kashmir

Last year’s semi-finalists Punjab lived up to their billing as one of the contenders for the coveted Santosh Trophy crown by beating a below-par Jammu & Kashmir in their Group B tie of the North Zone at the Ambedkar Stadium on Sunday.

Courtesy the result, Punjab now have six points from two games while Jammu & Kashmir remain on three from that many matches.

Left winger Gurpreet Singh scored the winner in the 38th minute of the match.

Receiving a neat pass from substitute striker Ranjit Singh after the duo exchanged passes on the left inside channel, Gurpreet tucked his effort nicely into the bottom left corner after being set up on top of the box.

Jammu & Kashmir had two good chances to equalise in the second half but centre forward Prem Kumar and substitute Toufeeq Ahmed shot wide and over respectively.

Punjab were the better team throughout the match stitching together passes in midfield and creating more chances than their counterparts.

The eight-time Santosh Trophy champions showed depth in their ranks as well, holding on to their game in spite of having to replace their first choice marksman Taranjit Singh with Ranjit after the former picked up an injury early on in the match.

J&K on the other hand failed to replicate their first match form where they trounced Uttar Pradesh by three goals.

Match 2 | Uttar Pradesh 1-0 Himachal Pradesh

In the other match of the day, Uttar Pradesh got the better of Himachal Pradesh courtesy a sixth minute strike from forward Sumit Kumar Dubey.

Dubey prodded from close after being set up by left wide midfielder Rustam Pal with a delightful cross inside the six yard area.

Uttar Pradesh now have three points from two matches while Himachal are still to open their account.

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)