Match Day Report:Kerala Vs Maharashtra

In the fourteenth match of 72nd edition Santosh Trophy we saw Southern Giants Kerala facing the western state of Maharashtra in the Group A category – at the Sailen Manna Stadium, Howrah . Kerala were clad in yellow and green while Maharashtra were in complete blue jersey. Maharashtra started the match with the kick off moving from right to left while Kerala moved from left to right. Maharashtra were doing well from the first minute of the game but lost the ball to Kerala who ambushed immediately by was stopped by captain Dion Menezes owing to a good clearance.
Maharashtra was trying to keep possession of the ball but a lack of communication handed the ball over to Kerala leading to throw in. Maharashtra tried to make a patient build up while taking some time with the ball followed by a long ball that was cleared by Kerala defender in the third minute.
Kerala gained possession of the ball in the fourth minute but cheaply gave it away to Maharashtra who with their casual play lost the ball back to Kerala with another chance but it was managed well by Maharashtra. Kerala made quick runs in the form of forward Afdal VK for Kerala who moved against the flow of play but was thwarted by the Maharashtra defense.
The first goal bound shot of the game was taken by Kerala in the ninth minute but reached safely into the hands of the Maharashtra goal keeper Aditya Mishra.
Kerala was up with a menacing ball and made advent towards the western side leading to a double tackle that gave Kerala their first set piece opportunity. The free kick was from a threatening position and the ball swayed just over the bar. Kerala continued with their attack down the left flank but could not keep the ball in control.
Maharashtra took their time while passing it across and the forward ball found a Kerala player and their move forward resulted in a poor cross leading to a goal kick for Maharashtra in the fourteenth minute,
Kerala had their first brilliant opportunity in the seventeenth minute as the Kerala striker with only the goalkeeper to beat cracked the ball straight into the body of the goal keeper and was cleared away by Maharashtra defense

Maharashtra moved straight into the Kerala defense and the counter attack yielded led them to concede a penalty. A penalty in favor of Kerala was given the twenty fifth minute. Kerala captain Rahul Raj took the kick and scored the goal as the goalkeeper dived to the wrong side

In a corner in the twenty sixth minute Maharashtra got a dangerous flying ball and the floater was headed without any danger by the southern defenders that lead to counter attack which could double the lead but was well contained by Maharashtra. A cooling break was given the twenty ninth minute owing to high humidity and soaring temperatures and a throw in helped to resume play.

Kerala received a yellow in the form of No.4 defender Jestin George and the free kick was taken by Maharashtra with no player to gather the ball at the far post

Kerala made a run down the right flank through forward Anurag PC who continued it with a brilliant cross but with no Kerala striker to receive it and was cleared by Maharashtra defenders. Maharashtra maintained the possession of the ball in their own half and won a free kick in the thirty seventh minute. Their short passes were being intercepted with Kerala making a move through a forward ball that was headed back to the keeper.
Jithin MS scored for the kerala side doubling their lead in the fortieth minute .Four minutes of regulation time added was added before half time giving the western side a chance to open their account Maharashtra player Mrunal Tandem kissed the ground owing to an injury and lured medical attention. Kerala defended their woodwork well and sent long balls down the right flank without much success. Maharashtra was trying to make a patient build up and was attacking persistently but the Kerala side were able to make clearances .It was a captivating first half football from the Kerala side as Maharashtra were looking hungry to open their goal account in the second half.
In the second half Kerala was attacking from right to left while Maharashtra attacked from left to right. The western side’s rash tackle by no. 8 midfielder Kiran Pandhare on Jithin Gopalan earned him a yellow card .An attack by Kerala in the fifty eight minute and Rahul KP waited and beat the keeper for Kerala’s third goal in the fifty eight minute .Kerala continued with their progressive runs with yet trying to increase their mark.
In the sixty eighth minute a serious tackle on keralite Afdal VK by no.26 Pramod Pandey gave them a free kick but was stopped by the western defenders who stood their ground the series of ambush by the southern side.
The play was stalled as there was a dog in the field in the seventy second minute.
Kerala were constantly on the attack moving from left to right and it seemed that team Maharashtra were been pinned into their own half as midfielder Jithin MS seemed to be all over the Maharashtra defenders. The Kerala coach seemed to be having a few words with the 4th official as there was a heated argument on.
Maharashtra had to defend voraciously because of Kerala’s rampant attacks as Jithin MS looked unstoppable. Maharashtra made a rare attack in the eighty fourth minute as they moved from right to left of the field . Maharashtra tried to salvage some pride in the dying minutes of the game. Maharashtra made a substitution in the eighty eight minute as they brought in No.15 Asifullah Khan in place of No.28 midfielder Siddhart Colaco. Kerala also made a substitution with No.16 Muhammad Parakottil brought in as three minutes of added time was awarded.
Rahul KP contracted in the an injury in the first minute if extra time and was taken off the field. beat Maharashtra to qualify for the semis after a total of 14 goals in 3 matches.

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