Kolkata: Spirited Tamil Nadu bounced back
from a goal deficit to shock last year`s runners-up Bengal 2-1
to end the quarterfinal group league on a high in the 64th
National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at the
floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.
Emerging Group B toppers with seven points, last year`s
semifinalists Tamil Nadu thus set up a last-four clash with
Group A runners-up Punjab.
Hosts Bengal (4 points), who finished second, will face a
tough challenge from reigning champions and the team in form
Goa in their semifinal.
Both the semifinals will be held on August 6.
In a rain-soaked match that was stopped for 25 minutes
in the second-half because of a power-tripping, Bengal went
ahead through a Narendra Dewan goal in the 16th minute.
But Bengal`s joy lasted less than two minutes with
Tamil Nadu equalising through V R Murugappan to make a flying
comeback. P C Riju scored the winner in the 79th minute.
Earlier, a goalless draw by Mizoram and Delhi in the
first quarterfinal Group B league match of the day ensured
semifinal berths for Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Mizoram missed a few chances as they dominated the
capital boys for most part of the match but only to settle for
a goalless draw that meant an exit for Delhi.
In the floodlit match of the day affected by
power-tripping, Bengal came close to scoring in the fourth
minute but Denson Devadas` header missed the target.
But Dewan scored in the 16th from a Jayanta Sen through
as he netted with a rightfooter from 24 yards.
But Tamil Nadu made a quich comeback with Murugappan
scoring from a left side attack in a 17th minute move.
Bengal looked to attack but Tamil Nadu were good in
thwarting their efforts as the score was 1-1 at halftime.
Bringing dark memories of the past, the power tripped for
25 minutes accompanied by heavy rains five minutes after the
break as total darkness engulfed the YBK.
After the play resumed, Bengal missed at least two close
chances with Dewan and Oraon at the receiving ends.
Tamil Nadu, however, were superior in finishing as Riju
struck easily from the right off a short pass giving them the
Bengal is no stranger to sporting events getting affected
due to power failure.
A pre-World Cup match at the 1,25,000 capacity Salt Lake
stadium had to be suspended for 25 minutes on September 8,
2004, after rats snapped some cables at a West Bengal State
Electricity Board sub-station in the stadium.
In the recent past, YBK saw a similar power cut during
the Calcutta football league decider between Chirag United and
Mohun Bagan in May this year.
Earlier, a complacent looking Delhi dished out a
lacklustre performance as Mizoram dominated most part of the
But none of the teams could be able to score and had
to settle for a drab draw.
With Delhi lacking steam, Mizoram kept on attacking and
had their first share of opportunity in the 13th minute when
Davi Lalrinmuana utilised an F Lalmuanpuia cross but failed to
head in what could have been an easy goal.
Mizoram had their best chance in the 85th minute when
Lalmuanpuia missed an open net after receiving a long through.
Delhi had their share of missed-chance in the 68th when
Tuishim Mashangva foiled a left-side cross by Monu Chowdhury.
Tamil Nadu finished on top with seven points, while
Bengal made the cut by finishing second with four points.
Having drawn all their three quarterfinal Group B league
matches, Delhi finished with three points, while Mizoram
earned one point to finish third and fourth respectively.
The summit clash for Santosh Trophy will be on August