Santosh Trophy 2019: Hosts Punjab to face Services in the final

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AIFF Media
Punjab defeated Goa 2-1 and Services overcame Karnataka on penalties to enter the final...

The champions of the 73rd edition of the Santosh Trophy will be decided on Sunday when hosts Punjab and Services lock horns at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana.

Harjinder Singh's injury-time goal helped Punjab beat Goa 2-1 to record their 15th final appearance in the competition. Punjab had opened the scoring through Jaspreet Singh in the 12th minute before Goa substitute Ronaldo Oliveira's late strike took the fixture to the wire.

Sukhpreet Singh's side started off on a positive note and tormented the Goans from the flanks until a cross from the left was thwarted by the Goa goalkeeper Tyson Caiado only as far as Jaspreet who nodded in the early opener.

Punjab forward Vikrant Singh was not provided much operating space as Samir Naik's boys started taking the attack towards their opponents. Mizoram-based 19-year-old, Lallawmpuia, went close but sent his free-kick wide.

Punjab Goa Santosh Trophy 2019

Goa did manage to make it 1-1 in the 89th minute after Joachim Abranches' shot had Punjab goalkeeper Satbir Singh parry the ball to the feet of Oliveira. However, the tie was decided soon after with Harjinder heading in a Mohd. Afif's free-kick.

Services 1-1 Karnataka

In the second semi-final, it was Services who prevailed over Karnataka in a hard-fought affair at the Guru Nanak stadium in Ludhiana. Lallawmkima's seventh-minute strike looked like it would end up as the match-winner before 10-man Karnataka replied with an 84th-minute equaliser via Nikhil Raj.

While it was Karnataka who dominated most of the ball possession in the first period, it was Services who looked the more dangerous of the two outfits with Lallawmkima and Bikash Thapa putting in lively shifts in the attack.

Lallawmkima fired Services into an early lead after controlling a low cross from the right flank before unleashing a strike that nestled into the bottom right corner. Minutes later, Bikash Thapa came close to doubling the lead after being released down the right flank. Thapa left a Karnataka defender in his wake before attempting to chip the goalkeeper from a difficult angle but was unable to pull it off.

Karnataka pushed for an equaliser in the second period with Leon Augustine making a surging run into the Services box. The Karnataka man sold a dummy before having a strike at goal which was saved by custodian Vishnu.

In the 70th minute, things went from bad to worse for Karnataka with Herojit Singh being shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle. However, the side responded positively to going down a man with Nikhil Raj conjuring up an equaliser 14 minutes later. After being released down the left channel, Nikhil entered the box and unleashed a fierce shot that gave the Services' custodian no chance.

Both teams failed to produce a match-winning goal and the match was decided on penalties. Karnataka missed two kicks whereas Services scored all and booked their place in the final. 

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