Duler: Services secured their third straight win as this time they registered a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lakshadweep in the Santosh Trophy West Zone Qualifiers 2019 group A match, played at Duler Stadium on Saturday.
Though Services were the better side in the first 30 minutes, they failed to convert their chances, whereas, Lakshadweep also had few chances but strong defending from Services’ last line kept every danger out of the box.
However, in the 33rd minute, Services forward Lallawmkima was brought down in the box by Lakshadweep skipper Anwar NP when he was in the commanding position to score where referee Dipak Singha without any hesitation pointed towards the penalty spot. Lallawmkima himself stepped up and calmly converted the spot-kick to put his side ahead.
The Island side refused to give up and came out all attacking and finally succeeded with just few seconds remaining to the halftime whistle as their forward Abdul Nazar was tackled in the box by Services’ defender Zothanpuia, awarding the penalty kick to the rivals where Savad TI made no mistake from the spot to make it all square.
Services gaffer Parshuram made the change at the halftime as Harikrishna AU was brought in to strengthen their midfield, while exhausted forward Lallawmkima was replaced by Sreyas VG just before the hour mark.
With the fresh legs coming in, services made many raids on the rivals where first, Sabir Khan was denied by Lakshadweep keeper Salahudheen, whereas, Sushil Shah saw his sparkling strike rebound off the goalpost with the rival keeper completely beaten.
After probing attacks, Services finally managed to surge ahead in the 52nd minute as Sabir’s scorching shot gave no chance to keeper Salahudheen making it 2-1.
Services had few more chances to extend their lead but aimless strikes and few superb saves from rival keeper Salahudheen restricted the score line. In one of these, Sushil’s goal bound free-kick from just outside the box was brilliantly blocked by the Lakshadweep keeper.
The Island side had the best chance to level back in the 75th minute when their forward Faizal Hussain was brought down by Services keeper Muhammed Shanoos where referee Deepak sent off the keeper with a Red card and awarded a free-kick to Lakshadweep just outside the box but the Island side failed to take advantage of the set pieces.
In the other match, Maharashtra kept their hopes alive of the qualifying with a comeback 3-1 win over Gujarat. Pavan Ramanuj scored in the 10th minute to put Gujarat into the lead, while it was cancelled in the 39th minute by Shanon Pereira with a penalty for Maharashtra. Kamran Ansari came off the bench in the second session and scored a brace (72’ & 82’) to book all three points for his side.