Bengal take on Goa in Santosh Trophy final in search of 32nd title | football | Hindustan Times
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Bengal take on Goa in Santosh Trophy final in search of 32nd title

Bengal would look to maintain their stranglehold in the Santosh Trophy as they face Goa in the final today.

football Updated: Mar 26, 2017 10:54 IST
Bengal (in red) have won the Santosh Trophy a record 31 times and will be keen on adding one more to the list in Sunday’s final against Goa.
Bengal (in red) have won the Santosh Trophy a record 31 times and will be keen on adding one more to the list in Sunday’s final against Goa. (PTI)

Bengal would look to maintain their stranglehold in the Santosh Trophy football tournament while Goa seek their sixth title when the two sides take on each other in the summit clash here on Sunday.

Bengal, who have won the tournament 31 times, have put up a consistent performance throughout the tournament. They have a strong defence and are yet to concede a goal in the regulation time so far.

Goa, on the other hand, have been an inconsistent side in the group stage. However, they lifted their game on time to beat Kerala in the semifinals and they now will be looking to keep the momentum against Bengal in the final match at the GMC Athletic Stadium here.

It’s the third time Goa is hosting this tournament. In 1972, Goa lost to Bengal but in 1990 they beat Kerala to win the title.

The home side will have the luxury of playing in front of their home fans but that may also bring added pressure on them. After dominating the first half against Kerala, Goa were steamrolled in the second half and if not for a couple of good saves by Bruno Colaco and a fine performance at the heart of defence by Peter Carvalho, the story could have been different.

Coach Mateus Costa said that his team will put its best foot forward and try and win the trophy in front of home fans.

“The boys have worked really hard to reach the final and I can assure you that whoever comes on the pitch will give more than their 100 per cent. We want to win the trophy in front of our home fans and we will give it our all,” he said.

“Bengal are a good side and have been consistent in the tournament. They have a strong defence and are yet to conceded a goal so far. Manvir Singh has been impressive upfront and we have worked a strategy to counter them. It’s going to be a good contest and my boys don’t want to miss this opportunity to win at home,” he added.

Bengal have given a good account of themselves to reach the semifinals before they edged out a spirited Mizoram via penalty shootout. ”Goa have most of their players playing in I-League and their experience will come good tomorrow against us. Ours is natural talent as none of our boys played at national level but their fighting spirit and sense of discipline has brought us so far. Tomorrow, the boys will keep on fighting to overcome Goa and win the title for the 32nd time,” said coach Mridul Baanerjee.