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Santosh Trophy: Services hand Railways a 2-0 defeat to march into semifinals

4 Mar, 2024 17:50 IST|Sakshi Post

Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), March 4 (IANS) Shafeel P.P. and Samir Murmu scored in the first half as six-time winners Services put up a commanding display in the first quarterfinal of the 77th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy, defeating Railways 2-0 at the Golden Jubilee Stadium here on Monday.

Forced to play second fiddle for most of the match against a rampaging Services side, the railwaymen were swept off their feet as early as in the ninth minute when a foul in the area allowed the winners to take the lead through a penalty converted by Shafeel PP. Their second goal came almost at the stroke of halftime; a brilliant effort by Samir Mumru saw Services go into the break leading 2-0.

That Services, who made the semifinals in the last edition too, were the better team on the pitch was clear from the very beginning. In the sixth minute, midfielder Rahul Ramakrishnan had a probing ball in his possession on the left and as he was cutting in, Railways defender Nitesh Kumar Yadav challenged him in a manner that didn’t receive the referee’s approval.

Defender Shafeel, who stepped in to take the spot-kick had the goalkeeper Raja Barman beaten convincingly on the right, but the referee ordered the kick to be retaken as one of the Services players rushed inside the box even before the shot was taken. Unperturbed, Shafeel slammed the ball in once again, this time on the left.

Services were mostly creating trouble for the rival defenders from the left. The Railways' defence looked harassed and managed to survive till the 45th minute. However, they had no answer to the goal scored by Samir Murmu, which was a spectacular effort. Latching on to the ball on the right, Murmu took an angular shot that entered the goal, almost kissing the far post.

Railways are three-time former champions who also finished runners-up on six other occasions. Over the years, Railways have produced some legendary players -- PK Banerjee, Arun Ghosh, and Prasanta Sinha, to name a few.

But on Monday, they were not in their element and did little to stretch the Services defence. The red-shirted Services were all over the pitch and could have won by a bigger margin had they not missed a few chances.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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