Santosh Trophy: Odisha Lose Must-Win Game, Out Of Semifinal Race
Bhubaneswar: Odisha went down to Kerala by the slimmest of margins in their Santosh Trophy final round group A fixture at Kalinga Stadium on Friday.
A 16th-minute penalty conversion by Kerala’s Nijo Gilbert sealed Odisha’s fate and ended their hopes of earning a semifinal berth from Group A.
Odisha, after 1 win, a draw and 2 defeats, have 4 points from as many matches. Even if they beat Karnataka in their final league encounter, it won’t be enough for the tournament hosts to finish in the top 2.
Odisha had to at least draw to have a slim chance of making the semis. But they failed to find a way past the determined Kerala defence.
The win kept Kerala’s hopes alive, taking their tally to 7 points.
Punjab (10 points) and Karnataka (8), the only unbeaten teams so far, occupy the top 2 places currently. The final round of league games will help identify the semifinalists.
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