Finals:West bengal Vs Kerala-“Victory comes to those who make the least mistakes”.

To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge.”Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”.

The much awaited final of the 72nd edition of Santosh Trophy is here and one can expect some intense action in the VYBK Salt Lake stadium where defending champions West Bengal will be squaring off against the Southern Giants Kerala who are unbeaten in this campaign. While this is 45th summit showdown for the 32 time champion Bengal , it is the 14th final appearance by the 5-time champion Kerala.

Both Kerala and West Bengal were  part of Group A that consisted of five teams vying for  entry into the semi-finals of the tournament. It was Kerala who emerged as topper of that group with 12 points, conceding only one goal till now. West Bengal who will be looking forward to their 33rd win finished with 9 points to confirm their presence in the semis of the national tournament . Incidentally their only loss came against Kerala.

West Bengal’s coach Mr.Ranjan Chaudhuri has a goliath task upfront, in the final ,as they have lost to Kerala in the last match of the final round of the group stage matches. West Bengal recruited  5 players from Mohammedan Sporting   Club while Tarun Sangha Club from Shyamnagar  provided 7 players for this campaign .Sanchayan  Sammadder made his way from Mohan Bagan’s youth team and will dedicate this win to his childhood mentor Mr.Amiya Ghosh who shaped up his football career after the loss of his parents at an early age. Biyashagar Singh has been training with the East Bengal team and expects to get a big break after his wonderful campaign in the 72nd edition of Santosh trophy.

Bengal coach Ranjan Chowdhuri believes that the loss against Kerala is enough to motivate his players to win and give in double their efforts. It is really commendable performance that this Bengal team has produced in this tournament without much practice and game time as a team. Credit definitely goes to the coach who applied some unique strategies to bring about momentum in the team. Although he did not get time to practice with his team, he had the confidence in them and brought about minor changes and gave them the discretion to play freely. Inspite of lack of training opportunities together as a team, he wanted the team to gel together particularly in certain positions.

The two forwards, captain Jiten Murmu and forward Rajon Burman shared one room. Each winger had a midfielder assigned to stay with them in the same room like midfielder Ankit Mukherjee coupled with Bidyshagar Singh and Tirthankar Sarkar coupled with Sumit Das. The main men behind the defense Sourav Dasgupta and Prosenjit Paul were companions in their stay so far. This strategy seemed effective so far as the team performed well and the motive of bringing in synchronization in the team as per positions were very much evident. West Bengal will be looking forward to wing plays owing to large size of the field in Salt Lake Stadium as compared to the other venues at Howrah, Mohan Bagan and Rabindra Sarobar.

Kerala who have been unbeaten in their campaign so far will be looking forward to their compact defense to hold the ambush from the Bengal side. The fifteen days of practice before the group stage matches included practice matches mostly to give the players real game experiences. Captain Rahul V Raj will be leading his team from the defense with the support of players like Sreerag G and Lijo  S who have collectively defended well against the highlanders Mizoram stopping them from scoring a goal; which was tipped to be a tough task. The Kerala goalkeeper Midhun V has been in his peak form ,with some amazing saves that completes the defense line. Their main man Seesan S cannot be left unmarked owing to capability of supplying balls during an attack and falling behind to help his defenders every time there’s an ambush. Their main worry will be containing Bidyashagar Das and cutting his supply line from Tirthankar Sarkar, the Bengal play-maker who is almost certain to be man-marked.

Bengal Midfielder Ankit Mukherjee will have an important role to play in trying to anticipate every move made by Jithin MS down the flanks, who can prove dangerous at any moment with his incisive runs and impeccable speed.Bengal defensive midfielders Monotosh Chakladar and Sanchayan Sammadar might have the task to cut the supply line by majorly blocking Rahul KP and Jithin G down the middle and keep a constant check on their timely and progressive penetration.

Kerala coach and national team selector Mr.Satheevan Balan is proud of the youngsters in his team and believes that he has the best lot of youth in the entire tournament. He lauded his goalkeeper Midhun V who has held his ground and has been rock-solid for the team owing to the support of experienced defenders in the back. The coach may look for a defensive approach in the first half like he was doing in few of the previous matches and may adopt for an attacking strategy in the second half once the opponents have exhausted out.

This will be a battle of individual brilliance of Bengal  VS organized team work of Kerala as the footballing powerhouse of the country gets ready to stamp their dominance in the national football championship. The match starts at 2.30 pm.

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