Bengal and Kerala booked their places in the semifinals of Santosh trophy 2018 beating Chandigarh and Maharashtra 1-0 and 3-0 respectively. Bidyasagar Singh scored the only goal in Bengal’s win while Rahul KP, Rahul Raj and Jithin MS scored for Kerala.
At the Mohun Bagan ground, defending champions Bengal edged past minnows Chandigarh who bowed out of the tournament after losing three out of their four matches.
East Bengal youth product Bidyasagar Singh put Bengal in front in the 18th minute with a brilliant shot from 20 yards. The winger cut in from the flank and launched a shot at goal from outside the box. The ball took a deflection and dipped into the net.
Bengal completely dominated proceedings throughout the course of the match and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession.
The reigning champions completely changed their gameplay in the second half and went into a shell. They hardly put any pressure in the attacking third and focused mostly on playing aerial balls.
Chandigarh could have equalised in the 93rd minute when Vivek Rana's head met a cross into the box but he was denied by the crossbar. Prateek Joshi attempted a volley from the rebound but it flew over.
In the other game at the Howrah Stadium, Kerala continued their fine form with a third consecutive win against Maharashtra. The Southern state were in control of the game right from kick off and tested Maharashtra custodian Aditya Mishra on several occasions.
In the 24th minute, Rahul Raj broke the deadlock from the penalty spot. The spot-kick was awarded after Pramod Mishra brought down Kerala's Afdal inside the box.
Jithin MS doubled Kerala’s lead with a brilliant shot from inside the box in the 39th minute after Rahul KP forwarded a through ball.
In the 58th minute, Rahul K.P scored the final goal for Kerala from Sreerag's through ball. He skipped past two defenders and slotted home.
Bengal and Kerala lock horns in their final match of the group stage on March 27 which will decide the standings.