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Santosh Trophy: Old Rivals Goa & Bengal Will Battle It Out In The Finals

Friday, 24 March 2017|Media Release
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The age-old rivalry between Goa and Bengal will be revitalised this Sunday when the two powerhouses of Indian Football lock horns in the finals of the 71st Santosh Trophy. 

In the semis Goa overwhelmed Kerala whereas Bengal beat Mizoram in sudden death to progress. 

However, the road to the finals wasn't easy for either team. 

In Goa's clash against Kerala, nine minutes before half time, with Goa already one goal ahead, the huge Goan crowd gathered at the Bambolim Stadium to watch the Santosh Trophy semi-final witnessed something special. A young fearless 18-year-old lad from a remote village in south Goa showed maturity beyond his age. Receiving the ball from midfield, he turned a defender, ran with speed, did a step over and foxed another defender, dribbled past a third Kerala defender and slammed a powerful shot across the face of goal that crashed into the nylons leaving the Kerala keeper Midhun V. dazed. Liston Colaco, the youngest player in the Goa team came to the fore when it mattered the most, scoring a stunning brace to ensure Goa made it to the finals of the Santosh Trophy after a gap of eight years. This match was all about Liston Colaco. The young Salgaocar lad showed why he is one of the most sought after talents in Goan football mesmerising the Kerala defenders with body feints, deft touches, step overs and pace.

 

The show started after just 14 minutes to be precise. A defensive mistake on the right of the Kerala defense allowed Assumption Soares to break free and cross the neatest of balls to Liston who was ready to slam home past a hapless looking Kerala keeper. Kerala looked a shadow of the side that steamrolled their way into the semi-finals. They were unable to keep the ball, their passing game was smothered by the evergreen Peter Carvalho in defence and their strikers hardly created any openings. Nine minutes before half time the match looked done and dusted after Liston’s sensational goal giving Goa a 2-0 lead going into half time.

Kerala though would not go down without a fight. They came out with much purpose in the second half playing some beautiful football with short passes, intelligent off the ball movement and their strikers and midfielders combining brilliantly, leaving Goa’s defenders on their toes and spectators on the edge of their seats. With 28 minutes left on the clock, Kerala got a crucial goal back after Bruno Colaco failed to clear an aerial ball punching it straight to Rahul v Raj who just headed the ball goalwards. Kerala put Goa completely on the mat after that, toying with Goa’s defense, putting in some teasing crosses, and threading some through balls through the eye of a needle leaving the huge crowd praying for the final whistle. On two occasions, Kerala nearly completed their second comeback of the tournament from a 2-0 deficit. Jobby Justin was the culprit on the first occasion, after his weak shot was saved by Bruno Colaco. Then with thirteen minutes left on the clock Jijo Josephs free kick was brilliantly tipped over by Bruno Colaco.

 

Goa held their nerve in the final fifteen minutes, that included five minutes of stoppage time, to script a famous win and ensure a repeat of the 1996 final when Bengal played Goa in the final at Fatorda.

 

Meanwhile GFA President Elvis Gomes thanked the Goan fans for turning out in large numbers to support the team. “The screaming fans made a huge difference to Goa and lifted the morale of our boys. I urge the fans to come out with the same enthusiasm and vigour in the final against arch rivals Bengal on Sunday”, he said.

 

In the first semi-final Bengal edged past Mizoram 6-5 via the tie breaker to enter their first final after seven years. The match finished goalless after the end of regulation time and extra time. With both teams playing a very defensive brand of football it was left to the lottery of spot kicks to decide the fate of both the teams.

 

Final
Sunday 26th March at 1800 hours
Goa v Bengal at Bambolim Stadium, live on DD Sports