Santosh Trophy : West Bengal begins title defense in style!

19th March, 2018-The high powered and adrenaline rushing game between Manipur and defending champions West Bengal  took place at the Howrah Municipal Corporation Stadium. We witnessed  the live action of the final phase of the 72nd Santosh Trophy as defending Champions Bengal took on Manipur on the opening day at Kolkata.

The kickoff  took place with West Bengal in white and Manipur in red. High flying balls were common from one side to the other. West Bengal got a great chance in the initial stage with Tirthankar Sarkar trying his luck and yet it was averted by the Manipuri defender. West  Bengal constantly kept pressing with their attacks  while the Manipuri defense were shaken as they made mistakes and gave away easy corners. Bengal were  persistently attacking after the first goal while Manipur tried to get leveled as early as possible.

Captain Jiten Murmu, was not very impressive in the field due to lack of coordination however his shot struck the bar which was collected Sumit Das who scored from the rebound  to earn himself the first goal of this season followed  by Tirthankar  Sarkar’s corner. There was immense pressure on the Manipuri goalie who panicked but was motivated because of hardworking full-backs. West Bengal were good with the ball ,passing the ball around and forming a game plan for their next attack which created enough trouble to win away throws.

Ranajit Mazumder  got a heavy knock and was down on the ground which lured some medical  attention. Tirthankar Sarkar  took an excellent free kick that nearly missed the second post and was pushed away by the goalie. Sumit Das increased the lead with another calm finish, as the midfielder slotted home a pinpoint cross from Bidyasagar Singh in the 15th minute.

Manipur’s attack lost steam as players  tripped and handed the ball over to Bengal  side on most occasions. They  struggled  hard as five minutes remained  in the first half .Two minutes were added  in the first half ,giving  them yet another chance to attack before the end of the first half. Commendable performance in the first half by the defending champions .As the second half began  Manipur were operating from the left of the field. Netrajit Singh  was brought in ,in place of Shougrakpam Singh for the visitors.They made another substitution shortly by bringing in Thoudam Meitei and replacing him with  Ningon Chiphang .The home side also made a substitution by resting star  Sumit Das and bringing in Sujay Dutta .Poor clearance  from the Manipuri side led the ball to midfielder Bidyashagar Singh who took an amazing side volley kick  that found its way inside the net thus ending the Manipurian dream of winning their  first game.

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