Monday, April 22, 2024

M’laya’s quarterfinal hopes dashed


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By Our Reporter

Shillong, Feb 28: Meghalaya’s dreams of advancing to the quarterfinals in the 77th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy 2023-24 were shattered after a goalless draw against Goa in their penultimate Group A match held in Itanagar.
Despite their efforts, Meghalaya’s last year’s runners-up status didn’t reflect in their performance, managing only one point from their previous three fixtures, with a draw against Kerala.
With Goa already securing a quarterfinal berth, Meghalaya needed a win to keep their hopes alive and challenge Assam.
Coach Khlain Pyrkhat Syiemlieh made tactical changes to the lineup, bringing back Lionel Rymmei and Banskhemlang Mawlong.
Although Meghalaya showed promise in the first half, with Sheen Sohktung attempting a couple of shots, they couldn’t break the deadlock. A momentary lapse from Lionel threatened to put Goa ahead early on, but he recovered in time to prevent disaster.In the second half, it was Goa who dominated, creating several scoring opportunities, albeit without success. Despite not being at their best, Goa’s unbeaten streak remained intact, leaving Meghalaya with a mere consolation of playing for pride in their upcoming match against hosts Arunachal Pradesh.Meanwhile, in other matches, Kerala dealt a blow to Arunachal Pradesh’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage with a convincing 2-0 victory. Muhammed Ashiq S and Arjun V found the net for Kerala, boosting their own chances of progressing.
On the other hand, Arunachal Pradesh’s aspirations were dashed, having only secured one point from four matches.Services, on the other hand, took a significant step towards securing a spot in the quarterfinals by defeating Assam 2-0. Thingnam Bidhyasagar Singh and P Christopher Kamei scored on either side of halftime, securing a comfortable win for Services. With the tournament heating up, teams are battling fiercely for a chance to advance to the knockout stages, setting the stage for intense competition in the upcoming matches.As the Santosh Trophy 2023-24 progresses, Meghalaya’s exit serves as a reminder of the unforgiving nature of competitive football.
With Goa securing their place in the quarterfinals and Meghalaya left to play for pride in their final match, the tournament continues to unfold with twists and turns. As teams vie for glory and a coveted spot in the knockout stages, each match brings forth new challenges and opportunities.
The Santosh Trophy, alternatively referred to as the National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy, stands as India’s foremost national football tournament for states and government services. Administered by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), this prestigious competition was founded in 1941.


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