• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Services reaches in Santosh Trophy Semis

Services 2 (Shafeel PP 9’(p), Samir Murmu 45+1’)

Railways 0

Six-time winners Services put up a commanding display in the first quarter-final when they defeated Railways 2-0 at the Golden Jubilee Stadium on Monday. Both goals came in the first half.

Forced to play second fiddle for most of the match against a rampaging Services, the railwaymen were swept off their feet as early as in the ninth minute when a foul in the area allowed the winners to take the lead through a penalty converted by Shafeel PP. Another goal came almost at the stroke of halftime; a brilliant effort by Army boy Samir Mumru saw Services increase their lead.

That Services, who made the semi-finals in the last edition too, were the better team on the pitch was clear from the very beginning. In the sixth minute, midfielder Rahul Ramakrishnan had a probing ball in his possession on the left and as he was cutting in, Railways defender Nitesh Kumar Yadav challenged him in a manner that didn’t receive the referee’s approval.

Defender Shafeel PP, who stepped in to take the spot kick had the goalkeeper Raja Barman beaten convincingly on the right, but the referee ordered the kick to be retaken as one of the Services players rushed inside the box even before the shot was taken. Unperturbed, Shafeel slammed the ball in once again, this time on the left.

Services were mostly creating trouble for the rival defenders from the left. The Railways defence looked harassed and managed to survive till the 45th minute. However, they had no answer to the goal scored by Samir Murmu, which was a spectacular effort. Latching on to the ball on the right, Murmu took an angular shot that entered the goal, almost kissing the far post.

Railways are three-time former champions who also finished runners-up on six other occasions. Over the years, railways have produced some legendary players, PK Banerjee, Arun Ghosh, and Prasanta Sinha, to name a few. But on Monday, they were not in their element and did little to stretch the Services defence. The red-shirted Services were all over the pitch and could have won by a bigger margin had they not missed a few chances.

Source: AIFF

Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

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