Santosh Trophy: North side Punjab Vs Odisha

In the first match of Group B in the 72nd edition of Santosh Trophy we saw  Punjab welcome the visit of neighbors Team Odisha to the Howrah Municipal Corporation Stadium.

The Odisha  side were hoping for three points to cement their spot. Odisha got a free kick and launched  the ball forward in the very first minute of the match. Odisha tried  to attack from the very beginning  but lost  the ball to Punjab. In the 3rd minute  Punjab passed the ball forward in the box but it was successfully defended by Odisha.

Punjab player Jitender Rawat launched a long shot but the ball went flying  over the cross bar. Punjab were very close to scoring with a strong goal kick shot from the left flank which  hit the side of the net. Odisha very efficient in making  strong runs from the right. A lack of communication in the Punjab defence  lead to a fumble but was finally parried out for a corner by the defenders .

Odisha Captain Arjun Nayak – took  a shot at the goal in the twenty third minute but failed  to hit the target. Smooth moves and a low cross from the right flank led forward Baltej Singh to hit the cross bar. Punjab looked like the more attacking team with crosses into the box but Odisha managed  to defend the crosses one after another.

In the thirty seventh minute Odisha goalkeeper  kissed the ground in an attempt to make a crucial save and was down with  no injury scare. Punjab seemed to trouble the opponents with constant attacks but Odisha somehow managed to ward  off the danger. In  the second half we saw  Odisha starting  from the left of the field having  the upper hand in the mid-field. Odisha made many short passes in order to find space but failed to make the final pass. In the fifty seventh minute forward Baltej Singh who was injured from an earlier clash went out for Punjab as Jagdeep Singh replaced him.  Arpan Lakra  scored in the sixty second minute to break the deadlock for Orissa with a goal. In the first sixty five minutes neighbors substituted  Bijay Behera for Odisha who was replaced by forward Arbin Lakra.

Punjab looked  desperate to get an equalizer but the shot from Jitender Rawat went off target again .An attempt from substitute Jagdeep Singh was  saved by Odisha goalkeeper .In the seventieth minute Punjab received a corner that was accompanied by a  beautiful header from Punjab Captain Sarbjit that equalized the game.

Lone scorer for Odisha  Arpan Lakra  continued poaching with  long shots in an attempt to take a lead which went off target mostly. The score remained  the same till the seventy third minute with a second substitution for Punjab as Parmjit Singh was called off   and was  replaced by Amandeep Singh. Both teams were trying very hard to find a goal with Punjab looking the more likely of the two. In their final substitution  Punjab had Parmeet Jhutty   replaced by Jaskaranpreet Singh.

Punjab earned the lead by one with an own goal from  Rudra Pradhan of Odisha who put  the ball into their  own net to give Punjab the lead with nine minutes of regular play to spare. In the second  substitution for Odisha  Rabi Hembram replaced D Srinath .In what had appeared to be the final substitution for Odisha had Bhabagrahi Padhihary coming in for Sunil Sardar. Four minutes of  injury time were added which gave chances to Odisha for making a comeback. In the dying hours of the game substitute Jaskaranpreet Singh collected  a yellow for the north side in the ninety third minute. After the full time the group B fixture between Odisha and Punjab ended  with the eight time Santosh Trophy champions Punjab clinching the game by 1-2.

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