Santosh Trophy 2022-23: Kerala knocks out of the competition following a draw against Punjab

Kerala and Punjab played out a 1-1 draw in the final round of a Group B fixture, leaving the defending champions out of the competition.

A win would have secured Kerala a spot in the semi-finals, which is set to be played at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Karnataka and Punjab have confirmed their places in the semis from Group A.

Kerala begin the game at the OFA 7th Battalion ground with a clear target of all 3 points, as only that will secure them a ticket to Riyadh. It was visible and Kerala looked like a much improved side, compared to their previous match against Odisha, which they won 1-0.

After creating a lot of goal-scoring chances, Kerala finally took the lead in the 24th minute, through Vishak Mohanan. Abdu Raheem produced a great cut-back into the box from the right wing which found Vishak, who brilliantly slammed the ball home to give Kerala the lead.

But, the advantage didn’t last long. 10 minutes later, Punjab equalised. Kamaldeep sent a ball to the danger area looking for Rohit Sheikh, who put the ball into the back of the net.

Kerala then had full domination in the game and was visibly hungry for a winner. They created many goal-scoring opportunities, but Punjab’s defensive duo consisting of Gurtej Singh and Rajat Kumar and their custodian Harpreet Singh blocked all of them, ensuring that the match stays on level terms. Nijo Gilbert had the closest chance to find the winner for Kerala, but his effort from inside the box late in the second half was brilliantly saved by Harpreet.

Lineups

Kerala- Midhun, Belgin, Shinu, Manoj, Mohamed Salim, Abdu Raheem, Hrishi, Arjun, Vishak, Nijo, Asif OM.

Punjab- Harpreet, Rasheed, Rajat, Gurtej, Akashdeep, Jaginder Singh, Parmjit Singh, Bhupinder, Kamaldeep, Rohit, Jang Singh.
Player of the match- Nijo Gilbert.

Also Read: Santosh Trophy 2022-23: Maharashtra ends their campaign with a win

Also Read: Poor Refereeing decisions steal the show in the Kerala-Maharashtra clash

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