Goa and Maharashtra had to pay the price of elimination from the National Football Championship while the other two semi-finalists are to be decided on Wednesday...Manipur and Goa played out a 2-2 draw in a crutial group B decider at Bhubaneshwar's Kalinga Stadium, Orissa, but the North-eastern unit piped their western rivals to the semi-finals on goal difference.
Thoi Singh broke the deadlock for Manipur in the 19th minute which was cancelled by Gabriel Fernandes in the 26th minute before Prathesh Shirodkar put Goa in the lead for the first time in the 45th minute.
However, Govin Singh's 70th minute goal was all that Manipur needed to make it through to the next round as they jointly lead the table with seven points with Goa but had better goal average (+7) as compared to their western rivals (+3).
Meghalaya also beat Uttar Pradesh 3-0 to register a consolation win in group B. Ronnie and Bansharaj scored in the 7th and 18th minute respectively in the first half. Timmy Ryngkhlem completed the tally of three goals in the 82nd minute.
Meghalaya therefore finished third with three points from as many matches while Uttar Pradesh failed to register a single victory in their campaign.
Elsewhere, Kerala defeated Maharashtra 3-1 in a group A quarter-final league clash at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack, Orissa, to book their place in the final four of the tournament.
Although Kailash Patil scored early from the spot in the 8th minute, Kerala didn't take long to score the equaliser in the 17th minute through Sujit while Kannan sent Maharashtra packing with his second half brace (72' and 81').
Kerala hence leapfrogged Maharastra to top the table with seven points from three matches while the latter had to wrap up their campaign with six points from the same number of outings.
Meanwhile, West Bengal wrapped it up on a winning note after beating Punjab 2-1 in their last group A match in which Gurmeet Singh scored the opener in the 16th minute. Mohd. Muktar however equalised in the very next minute while Tapan Maity left until late when he scored the winner in the 87th minute.
Punjab have hence failed to bag a point from their matches as West Bengal go home with one win, one draw, one loss and a third place finish.
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