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Chandigarh

Posted at: Mar 24, 2018, 1:55 AM; last updated: Mar 24, 2018, 1:55 AM (IST)

Maharashtra sink Chandigarh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23

Chandigarh's semifinal hopes came crashing after a 2-1 loss to Maharashtra in their Group A match of the 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Friday.

Even as Vishal Sharma struck for Chandigarh towards the dying minutes of the game, early goals from Shubham Khanvilkar and Dion Menezes sealed the day for Maharashtra.

It took just five minutes for the western state to take the lead. Advait Shinde lost the ball inside the box, but Shubham Khanvilkar took advantage of being unmarked and chipped the ball over the Chandigarh custodian and into the far post.

Maharashtra doubled the lead four minutes later with skipper Menezes shooting home from 35 yards as goalkeeper Manvir Singh failed to anticipate the ball and it sailed over his head, into the net.

Chandigarh brought in Pankaj Singh to replace Pawandeep, who failed to get the right flank going. The first shot on target for the Union Territory was held well by Aditya Mishra as Hamrinder Singh hit straight towards the custodian.

Chandigarh's decision-making in the final third was poor while Maharashtra's two holding midfielders, Kiran Pandhare and Mrunal Tandel, did well to keep the game ticking from the centre of the park.

Khanvilkar had another sniff at goal but he took too much time inside the box and shot wide as Maharashtra went into the break 2-0 up.

Both sides appeared cautious in the second half, but Chandigarh showed more urgency. It was no surprise that the Maharahstra defenders had a bit more work to do as Pramod Pandey pulled off a good block from Vivek Rana's shot inside the box in the 56th minute.

Substitute Leander Dharmai had the best of chances in the second half when his powerful shot was saved by Manvir Singh on the dive. Chandigarh had their second goal-scoring opportunity in the 79th minute. 

On the other end, defender Nikhil Prahser pulled off a goal-line clearance a couple of minutes later. Prateek Joshi missed a glaring chance as he hit over the bar in the 83rd minute. All these chances did result in a late goal as Vivek Rana's shot was first saved by Aditya Mishra but Vishal Sharma hit the back of the net off the rebound.

Maharashtra registered their first points on board and will now face Kerala on Sunday. Chandigarh, with only one point from three outings, face hosts Bengal.

Meanwhile, at the Sailen Manna Sports Complex in Howrah, after a barren first half, substitute Afdal VK gave Kerala the lead in the 47th minute before goals from Rahul KP (59th), Jithin Gopalan (62nd and 84th), Jithin MS (71st) and an own goal by Roshan Singh (90+4th) helped them thrash Manipur 6-0.

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