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Karnataka crowned Santosh Trophy champion after 54 years Sport-rated




Karnataka were crowned Santosh Trophy champions on Saturday after a 54-year gap with Robin Yadav’s stunning first-half free-kick the highlight of their dominating 3-2 win over Meghalaya in the summit clash.

M Sunil Kumar (3rd minute), Bekey Oram (20) and Robin Yadav (44) scored for Karanatka, while Meghalaya found the goal through Brolington Warlarpih (8th) and Sheen Sohktung (60) at the King Fahd International Stadium.

This was Karnataka’s first title since 1968-69 and fifth overall, counting their previous four wins as Mysore, their previous name before 1973. They last finished runners-up in 1975-76. For Meghalaya, it was their first appearance in the final.

The final was basically between two leagues in the two state capitals. Almost all of the players from Karnataka were from the Banglore Super Division League while most of the players from Meghalaya plied their trade in Shillong Premier Ldeague. Meghalaya also had four players playing in the Banglore Super Division League.

The two teams played in a similar style, keeping the ball and building with short, low passes. But the Karnataka Attackers, who had reached the final after beating Services in the semi-finals, were able to break through the Meghalaya defense on several occasions. Meghalaya, who won against Punjab in the semi-finals, also attacked a lot, but lost a lot of time in the final third.

Karnataka took the lead in the third minute which began with a throw-in. Captain Karthik Swamy headed inside the box and M Sunil Kumar’s right foot deflected past a Meghalaya defender into the net.

Five minutes later, Meghalaya striker Sheen Sohktung was brought down inside the box by Karnataka defender G Nikhil in the eighth minute. Brolington Warlarpih stepped up to take the penalty kick and sent Karnataka goalkeeper Satyajit Bordoloi the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Megahalya was on the rise for a while after the equalizer and they had some beautiful build ups to threaten the Karnatalka citadel. In the 10th minute, Meghalaya’s Figo Syndai had a chance on a pass from Sheen Sohktung but shot over the top.

Karnataka retook the lead in the 20th minute with Bekey Oram’s shot hitting the underside of the bat before coming on after a cross from the left.

Karnataka doubled the lead in the 44th minute with Robin Yadav scoring from a free kick. The former India Under-19 player, who currently plays for Bengaluru FC’s reserve team, curled the ball into the top corner of the net and to the left of Meghalaya goalkeeper Rajat Paul Lyngdoh.

Megahlaya pulled one back from behind in the 60th minute thanks to Sheen Sohktung, whose right foot got past the keeper after Donlad Diengdoh tapped in Banskhemlang Mawlong’s cross from the right.

Earlier, Services beat Punjab 2-0 to take third place.