Services beat Tamil Nadu to emerge Santosh Trophy champions

Cuttack: Services won the 66th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy beating Tamil Nadu 3-2 at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack,

Midfielder Sanju Subba of Services scored the first goal in the 45th minute ? his right footer curling away from Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Akhil Soman to bulge the net.

After the change of ends, Subrata Sarkar doubled the lead in the 49th minute while VV Farhad tapped it past an onrushing Akhil for Services` third goal in the 67th minute.

Santa Kumar and M Ramesh reduced the margin for Tamil Nadu in the 82nd and the 89th minute respectively.

Services` VV Farhad was declared the Man-of-the-Final as Services pocketed a winner`s purse of Rs 5 lakh while Tamil Nadu stayed content with the runners-up purse of Rs 3 lakh.

The match was delayed by 90 minutes due to storm and the torrential downpour prior to the kick-off.

First, Services captain Gordon Zoramchhana`s shot dipped at the last moment to bounce off the crosspiece and then in the 17th minute, ZV Horin`s shot found Tamil Nadu central defender Suman Raj on the way.

Tamil Nadu relied on counter-attacks and their first worth-mentioning move didn`t come till the 22nd minute, Jayakumar`s angular shot just going wide. Their best chance of the first half came in the 44th minute when Charles Anand Raj outjumped rival central defender Rary Raj to head Nirmal Kumar`s cross but Services goalkeeper AK Balwant thwarted it in his second attempt.