Follow Us:

Manipur secure easy 3-0 win against Karnataka in Santosh Trophy

Gift Raikhan, coach of the Manipur team had instructed his team to go all out for the win in order to go through to the semi-finals and it is exactly what they did. Three first half goals seemed to have done the job for them early on itself with Lunminlen Haokip running the show.

SNS | New Delhi |

Manipur managed to come out as comfortable 3-0 winners against Karnataka in the 75th Hero National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at the Kottapadi Stadium on Saturday. The victory makes them the second team after Kerala from Group B to qualify to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Gift Raikhan, coach of the Manipur team had instructed his team to go all out for the win in order to go through to the semi-finals and it is exactly what they did. Three first half goals seemed to have done the job for them early on itself with Lunminlen Haokip running the show.

The breakthrough goal of the game came from a terrible mistake by Karnataka’s young Darshan L at left-back. The defender tried to pass back to his goalkeeper Jayanthkumar Krishnamurthy but his loose pass was intercepted by an alert Somishon Shirak. He looked up and picked out an onrushing Lunminlen Haokip who made no mistake as Manipur took the lead in the 19th minute.

Lunminlen Haokip could have added another goal in a matter of minutes. Darshan L was the culprit once more, as he was defeated by Somishon Shirak, who once again discovered his teammate inside the box. However, Haokip’s shot this time went straight to the keeper, who fumbled the first time but eventually held on.

These defensive blunders sparked Karnataka into life, and they had two chances to equalise in quick succession. Manipur’s Angomjambam Chingkhei Meitei’s poor goalkeeping gave Bavu Nishad TP a half-chance, but his shot was cleared by Thiyam Chingkheinganba.

Karnataka tried to play on the counter-attack, and their best chance fell to Solaimalai N, but his powerful shot was somehow saved by the Manipur goalkeeper. As Karnataka pushed forward in search of an equaliser, they left too many gaps in midfield, which Manipur quickly exploited.

Ngulgoulal Singsit’s chipped through ball found Haokip, who broke the off-side trap. He still had a lot to do after that, but he completely fooled Siju S and then toe-poked it past the onrushing keeper in the 42nd minute to extend Manipur’s lead.

After conceding the second goal, the Karnataka players appeared deflated and let their heads drop. And Manipur punished them even more severely. Somishon Shirak was discovered in acres of space by a through ball. His first shot was brilliantly saved by Jayanthkumar Krishnamurthy, but Shirak poked home the rebound to make it three goals without reply on the stroke of halftime.

Manipur defender Laishram Chingkheinganba’s mistimed header completely fooled his own keeper as it looped over his outstretched hands, giving Karnataka a chance to cut the deficit. Fortunately for Manipur, the ball struck the crossbar and was collected by a grateful Angomjambam Chingkhei Meitei.

Manipur were content to hold their shape in the second half and try to hit Karnataka on the break. The Karnataka players did put up a much better performance in the second 45 minutes, but they had nothing to show for it. Both Kamalesh P and Solaimalai N had long-range shots saved by the Manipur goalkeeper.

Karnataka attempted to re-enter the game by using crosses from the flanks. Prashanth Kalinga’s cross found Solaimalai N in space inside the box, but the midfielder’s header was off target.

Karnataka have been put in a tough spot now as they would have to win their last game against Gujarat in order to have any chance of going through to the semi’s if fortune favoured them. Manipur, meanwhile have bagged themselves a semi-final berth in the Santosh Trophy with a total of 9 points from four games.

(Inputs from IANS)