Maharashtra contributed immensely to their own downfall before Karnataka's M Naveel Dada delivered the knockout punch in the Santosh Trophy quarterfinal league match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.
Hoping to turn the tide after a dismal outing against the Services in their opening match, the Steven Dias-led Maharashtra was instead shown the door by a rejuvenated Karnataka, who scored their opening goal in the 25th minute through Sanath Kumar.
And with his 67th-minute strike, Dada vindicated his coach, D Manivannan's decision to substitute him for Sanath. After receiving the ball cleanly, Dada dribbled past Anas Mohammed Kutty before unleashing a power-packed shot at the goal.
Dada could have scored his second goal in the final minute of regulation time, but Maharashtra defenders somehow managed to block his attempt.
Credit should also go to the Karnataka midfield, which kept feeding Sanath and skipper Xavier Vijay Kumar, thus opening ample opportunities for the men operating upfront.
The defenders did not have to worry much as Maharashtra, barring a few half chances, hardly looked threatening. Even when they were tested, the Karnataka defenders were up to the task, with their marking a bit too much to handle for the likes of Maharashtra's Paresh Shivalkar and Kuttymani Sampat Kumar.
While Karnataka did almost everything right, their opponents went wrong on several fronts. Skipper Steven Dias looked menacing at times, but even he struggled to deliver those trademark dipping crosses from the right.
The ploy to lay an offside trap for Sanath by moving up backfired as the striker neatly placed the ball into the far corner of the post.
Climax does it for Goa
Climax Lawrence scored the decisive goal to give Goa victory in their Group B match against Services. After a barren first half, Lawrence struck the all-important goal in the 56th minute. Sujan Suku, who had to be fielded after regular goalkeeper Robikanta Singh was sent off, could not read Fulgancio Cardozo's long ball, which was tapped in by Climax.
Scores: Karnataka 2 (Sanath Kumar 25, Naveel Dada 67) Maharashtra 0; Goa 1 (Climax Lawrence 56) Services 0