Manipur Beat Railways 4-1, Bengal Held To 2-2 Draw By Delhi In Santosh Trophy
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Manipur beat Railways 4-1, Bengal held to 2-2 draw by Delhi in Santosh Trophy

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By PTI Updated: Feb 11, 2023 10:03 pm

Multiple-time champions Bengal were held to a surprise 2-2 draw by Delhi, while Manipur rode on Naocha Singh’s hat-trick to beat Railways 4-1 in their respective matches in the National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy here on Saturday.

Last year’s finalists Bengal were firm favourites against Delhi in the opening game of the day. But, it was Delhi who took the lead in the seventh minute when Neeraj Bhandari headed home from a corner kick.

Delhi led 1-0 at half time but Bengal struck back through a brace from Naro Hari Shrestha (50th and 61st) to take the lead.

Gaurav Rawat then scored the equaliser for Delhi in the 72nd minute as the two sides shared the spoils.

Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya expressed disappointment with the performance of his players.

“It was a haphazard performance. We played well in some periods of the game, but otherwise not. I’ll put it down to first-game nerves, but there is a lot to improve,” said the former India international after the match.

In the second match, Manipur produced a brilliant second-half performance to run away with three points.

A goalless first half saw Manipur dominate the game but finishing let them down on more than one occasion.

However, it all changed in the second half. Pangabam Naoba Meitei cut a perfect cross from the right flank for Naocha to tap into goal from five yards in the 56th minute. The floodgates opened after that.

Naocha added a second in the 69th minute, firing into an empty net after Subhash Singh’s shot had bounced off the post.

Despite Railways’ 72nd-minute goal, there was never any threat of a comeback. Naocha got his hat-trick in the 73rd minute and Longvah (90+2) added the cherry on top of a brilliant performance from Manipur.

In another match, Services beat Meghalaya 2-0. (Bhubaneswar, PTI)

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By PTI Updated: Feb 11, 2023 10:03:18 pm
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