Vasco: Gujarat survived anxious encounter in the dying minutes to hold Madhya Pradesh to 2-2 draw in the qualifying round match of the Santosh Trophy (West Zone) played at Tilak Stadium, Vasco, here Saturday.
Madhya Pradesh took the lead in the 3rd minute through Nokul Singh. However, Gujarat`s Zala Mayursingh restored parity in the 25th minute with Pun Yuvraj giving them the lead at half time.
Madhya Pradesh fought hard in the latter part of the second half to restore parity through Pratik Kanojia in the 68th minute.
Thereafter, they went all out with the barrage of moves in search of the winner but rival keeper Stephen Fernandes brought off three close saves to deny Madhya Pradesh a win.
With one team qualifying from this group for the knock-out stage, Gujarat, who finished their league engagement with one win and a draw, are out of the competition.
Madhya Pradesh now need an outright win against Maharashtra in February 3 tie to qualify for the next stage.
Madhya Pradesh started well and took an early lead?in the 3rd minute when Nokul Singh off a pass from Javid Manohar.
Gujarat, who had lost to Maharashtra, needed a win to stay in contention for knock-out stage and took time to settle down in today`s game.
It restored parity in the 25th minute When Zala Mayursinh found the net after rival keeper failed to collect the long ball from the right and Zala who was close by pounced on the loose ball and slotted in.
Gujarat than earned a penalty in the stoppage time of the first half after Karma was pulled up inside the box by the referee for pulling Pun Yuvraj jersey. The resultant penalty was converted by Pun Yuvraj himself to have Gujarat leading 2-1 at half time.
Gujarat continued to have upper hand in the second half but could not translate their superiority in terms of goals.
In another match played at Duler Stadium, Puducherry fought back in the latter part of the second half to hold Daman and Diu to a 3-3 draw.
Thus Daman and Diu, who led 1-0 at half time, were leading 3-0 after the change of ends through a hat trick by Egipsio Noronaha.
However, the team wasted the?opportunity to grab full points as they allowed their opponents to come back in the latter part of the second half with Karuna Nichi scoring twice and Sugu Maran once to level the score and put Daman and Diu out of the competition who finished their league engagement with one points from two matches.
Puducherry needs to beat Goa to qualify for the next stage.