Hosts Goa will face West Bengal in the final of the 2017 Santosh Trophy after they beat their semi-final opponents Kerala and Mizoram respectively at the Bambolim Stadium in Northern Goa on Thursday.
In the afternoon kick-off, West Bengal entered their 44th final after they managed to defeat title-favourites Mizoram 6-5 in a penalty shootout. The game ended goalless after neither team broke the deadlock after 120 minutes of football.
It was 4-4 after both teams exhausted their designated five shots and the shootout headed into sudden death. Goalkeeper Shankar Roy emerged the hero as he denied Lalbiakhlua after Moirangthem Basanta Singh had made it six for Bengal.
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Lalrammawia Rammawia, substitute Ramfangzuava, Lalrammuanpuia, and Lalalrinchhana Rcha converted from the spot for the north-eastern outfit. Fialmuanawma Muanawma's shot too was saved by Roy, who idolises India veteran Subrata Paul.
For the Mridul Banerjee coached side, Santu Singh, Manvir Singh, Samad Ali Mallick and Mumtaz Akhtar found the net. Substitute Monotosh Chakladar’s shot hit the woodwork. Bengal's last appearance in the final was six editions ago when Shabbir Ali led the side to their 31st triumph - 23 more than second placed Punjab with eight titles.
In the other semifinal, Goa were cheered on by a healthy chunk of fans as they romped to a 2-1 win over Kerala in the second semi-final.
The five-time champions were egged on by 18-year-old Liston Colaco who recorded a brace in the first half itself. The Salgaocar academy product scored in the 13th minute and 36th minute in a half dominated by the Blue and Yellows of Goa.
Kerala came hard after the breather and even pulled a goal back via Rahul V Raj in the 61st minute. But Goa held onto the scoreline to enter the finals after an eight-year hiatus.
The final of the 71st Santosh Trophy will be played to a conclusion on Sunday, 26th March at the same venue in what will be a repeat of the 1996 final where Goa lost to West Bengal 1-0 at the Fatorda Stadium.
2017 Santosh Trophy Semi-final scores
West Bengal 0-0 [ET] Mizoram (West Bengal won 6-5 on penalties)
Goa 2-1 Kerala (Liston Colaco 13', 36'; Rahul V Raj 61')