Punjab goalkeeper Paramjit Singh made up for a costly fumble in extra-time when he pulled of two saves in the tie-breaker of their pre-quarter final to help his side book a berth in the quarter-final league of Santosh Trophy here on Thursday.
Paramjit's error almost undid Punjab's good work but Amandeep Batra's late strike stretched the match into tie-breaker. The win means Punjab join Goa, Services and Karnataka for their quarter-final league group that commences from July 29.
Odds were heavily in favour of Manipur but Punjab turned round the tables with a dogged performance that handed them a 1-0 lead till substitute Ngouba Singh's 87th minute strike gave Manipur a new lease of life.
Manipur dominated proceedings as East Bengal midfielder Reisangmi Vashum led the attacks with Subash Singh and Nilakumar Singh upfront. But the Punjab backline consisting of Amandeep, Harpreet Singh, Gurwinder Singh and Ravinder were equal to their task, thwarting Manipur time and again. Nilakumar and Subash however, also fluffed opportunities galore and could have easily ended the match within regulation time had they been more precise with their strikes. Punjab scored completely against the run of play in a counter-attack. Amandeep Singh overcame Manipur defender Raju Mangang's challenge in the right flank to send in a cross to the middle. Balraj Singh blasted from the top of the box after Randeep Singh headed down the cross for him in a melee.
In extra time, Manipur took the lead through a freak goal when Paramjit let in Vashum's drive --- off a corner-kick --- through his grasp. Batra --- who was introduced in the 84th minute --- equalised through a brilliant header with only five minutes to go for the final whistle.
In penalties, Naoba Singh's first shot was parried by Paramjit, putting Punjab in the driver's seat. Even though Manipur's Lalit Thapa parried Balwant Singh's booming shot later, Subash Singh fluffed his chance as well, kicking straight into Paramjit. Gurpreet Singh then sealed Manipur's ouster with a low but powerful drive that beat Thapa.