Footy Times

Santhosh Trophy final: Kerala edge Bengal in Penalty shootout

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Kerala won the 75th Santosh Trophy on Monday at the Manjeri Payyanad Football Stadium in Manjeri, Malappuram.

The hosts came back from a goal down to defeat Bengal 5-4 in a penalty shootout to win their seventh Santosh Trophy.

In front of a raucous crowd of 26,857, the Bino George-coached Kerala struggled to break down the Bengal defence in regulation time. This was primarily owing to Priyant Singh’s presence beneath the bar.

The record 32-time winners, looking to revenge their devastating defeat at home four years ago, took the lead in extra time thanks to a spectacular diving header by Dilip Orawn on the 97th minute.

However, Bengal’s defence, led by skipper Monotosh Chakladar, broke in the final four minutes of extra time in an action repeat of Bengal’s goal.

Bibin Ajayan equalised with a leaping header after being set up by Noufal PN from the right flank, just as the crowd became hostile and began throwing bottles from the stands.

Bengal began off the penalty shootout with Orawn’s strike, but Sajal Bag fired wide in their second attempt, which proved pivotal in the end. Bablu Ora, Tanmoy Ghosh, and goalie Priyant all converted their opportunities, leaving the enormous task for substitute goalkeeper Raja Burman to save Kerala’s winning penalty.

Burman gave it his all, but Faslurahman Methukayil clinched the final, hitting the ball into the top corner to give Kerala its first Santosh Trophy on home soil since 1993.

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