Another full house, another win.
Host Kerala’s campaign at the Santosh Trophy National football championship is looking in good shape.
Kerala posted its second win in as many matches, beating Bengal by 2-0 here on Monday night. It was a hard-fought victory though, as it had to wait till the 85th minute for the first goal, which was scored by substitute P.N. Noufal, who slotted the ball home after receiving an excellent short pass from skipper Jijo Joseph well inside the box.
Then in the injury time, T.K. Jesin, another substitute, scored off a fine assist from Muhammed Saheef.
Earlier, Meghalaya opened its campaign with a 3-2 victory over a fighting Rajasthan at Malappuram. It was Rajasthan that took the lead, in just the second minute. Trilok Lohar’s throw-in from near the right corner flag into the six-yard box was headed in by Youraj Singh.
Meghalaya equalised on a counter-attack on the right flank through the left-footed long-ranger from Figo Syndai, who struck again with six minutes remaining in the first half to put his side in front. He converted the excellent short pass from Shano Tariang on the right wing.
Santosh Trophy: Kerala thumps Rajasthan 5-0; skipper Jijo scores hat-trick
Imran Khan scored off a rebound from the Meghalaya goalkeeper Frolicson Dkhar to make it 2-2 for Rajasthan. Eight minutes later, however, Hardy Cliff Nongbri scored from the spot for Meghalaya.
Kerala 2 (P.N. Noufal 85, T.K. Jesin 90+3). bt Bengal 0.
Meghalaya 3 (Figo Syndai 25 & 39, Hardy Cliff Nongbri 64) bt Rajasthan 2 (Youraj Singh 2, Imran Khan 56).
Tuesday’s matches: Services vs Gujarat (Malappuram) 4 p.m.; Manipur vs Odisha (Manjeri) 8 p.m.