4/1/2018 6:02:12 PM (GMT+3)

Kerala overcome Bengal in tie-breaker to win Santosh Trophy

Kerala overcome Bengal in tie-breaker to win Santosh Trophy

CALCUTTA, India: Kerala, Indian football’s one of the original powerhouses, overcame a gritty Bengal side 4-2 in the tie-breaker to reclaim the 72nd Santosh Trophy here at the Yuvabharati Krirangan on Saturday.

The final was an intense one as both the teams played with gusto while the fortunes changed hands like musical chairs as the teams tried to outpace each other and were locked at 2-2 after the regulation and extra-time till the penalty shootouts was resorted to decide the winner.

32-time winners Bengal didn’t deserve to lose the crown, but luck definitely had ditched them as the Ranjan Chowdury-coached side helplessly watched the trophy sail with the team from ‘Gods Own Country’.

Kerala had shot into the lead through Jithin MS the 19th minute, but Bengal captain Jiten Murmu, who had a great tournament, drew level in the 68th.

Kerala, who had last won the title in 2002-03, once again earned the lead when Vibin Thomas found the back of the net in the extra-time.

Tirthankar Sarkar scored from a free-kick late into the injury to keep the defending champions in title contention.

Ankit Mukherjee and Nabi Hussain Khan missed the first two shots as Midhun saved both the shots in the tie-breaker while Sarkar and Sanchayan Samaddar scored, but Kerala’s Rahul V Raj, Jithin Gopalan and Jestin George and Seesan S successfully converted their chances to dent Bengal’s pride.

The hosts played with 10 men in the last eight minutes when Rajon Burman was sent off in the 112th minute when his attempted shot was missed and his boot hit keeper Midhun’s face.