Santosh Trophy: Maharashtra conquers Lakshadweep with a 4-0 win

In a mesmerizing display of dominance, Maharashtra orchestrated a sensational 4-0 victory against Lakshadweep in their second group-stage encounter of the Santosh Trophy.

In a mesmerizing display of dominance, Maharashtra orchestrated a sensational 4-0 victory against Lakshadweep in their second group-stage encounter of the Santosh Trophy.

The game burst into life in the 8th minute when Johnson Mathew, embarked on a run down the right flank. A tantalizing cross followed, teasing the Lakshadweep defense before it found Advait Shinde. who took a touch before firing a low shot into the net.

Lakshadweep, though undaunted, struggled to break down the resolute Maharashtra defense. Their moment came in the 35th minute when a cleverly orchestrated counter-attack led to a tactical foul just on the edge of the box. Maharashtra’s defender, Dhurwesh Nijap, saw yellow as a result. Abul Hassan stepped up for the free-kick. His shot, while expertly placed, narrowly cleared the crossbar, leaving Lakshadweep still searching for their opener.

The 2nd half brought even more exhilarating moments. In the 55th minute, a long, searching ball from Maharashtra’s custodian set Himanshu free behind the defense. A single touch was all that separated him from glory, but his control proved just a tad too heavy. The vigilant Lakshadweep keeper, Shameer Shaik, pounced on the loose ball just in the nick of time, denying Himanshu’s aspirations.

The pace of the match was relentless, featuring end-to-end football. Around the hour mark, Maharashtra augmented their lead. Johnson Mathews, playing a pivotal role once again. A scything cross from the right was intended for a teammate but a deflection off a defender’s foot directed the ball to Armash Ansari’s path. With an impeccable first touch, Ansari conjured a shot destined for the back of the net. The Lakshadweep goalkeeper stood rooted to his spot.

In the 66th minute, Maharashtra crafted their third goal. Mathews orchestrated another breathtaking move that resulted in a pinpoint cross. Skipper Nikhil Kadam was at the far post, and he artfully spun away from his marker before launching a missile from his left foot. The net rippled, and Maharashtra’s jubilant fans celebrated another goal.

Maharashtra’s fourth goal was a study in teamwork and precision. A long ball from the midfield found Armash Ansari, who deftly flicked it ahead for Himanshu. Himanshu, exhibiting clinical composure, navigated past the onrushing keeper, slotting the ball into the net with immaculate precision.

The game had its fair share of moments for Lakshadweep too, with the 82nd minute presenting them a golden opportunity to pull one back. No. 20, Suhail, launched a rocket towards goal, only to have it brilliantly parried by Maharashtra’s custodian, Paramjit Baghel. The rebound fell to Abdulla, but yet again, Baghel’s heroics thwarted the potential comeback

In the 88th minute, Skipper Nikhil Kadam unleashed a curving effort from outside the box. The shot was a thing of beauty, forcing the Lakshadweep goalkeeper into a full-stretch save.

The final moments were equally engaging. In the 90+4th minute, Advait Shinde crafted a tantalizing low cross that found Substitute Mohammed Ansari in prime scoring territory. Ansari’s touch sent the ball toward the goal, only to witness it agonizingly kiss the sidebar before ricocheting out of play. The Lakshadweep keeper, having anticipated the threat, had covered his angles to perfection.

The 4-0 victory solidified Maharashtra’s position in the Santosh Trophy at the top of the Group F table.

Also Read: India finish at the receiving end in Merdeka Cup semi-finals

Also Read: MFA Super League Week 7 Roundup: Mumbai City FC, Tarun Sporting & Young Guns FA Shine

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