Goa qualify for quarter-final league


 Former champions Goa qualified for the quarter-final league of the ongoing 67th Santosh Trophy after securing a fighting 2-2 draw against Haryana at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Cochin, Monday.
Goa now move to Kollam for their quarterfinal league matches in Group ‘B’, which also contains last year’s runner-up Tamil Nadu, while Haryana join host Kerala in Group ‘C’ at Kochi. Goa meet TN on February 21. Goa wound up their Group D (Qualifying Round 1) engagements in the concluding match on Monday as they managed to share spoils with Haryana, who at one point led 2-1 at half time.
Though Goa dominated the proceedings and came close at least twice to take early lead, they allowed Haryana to snatch the advantage. While Marcus Peixoto drew first blood for Goa in the 11th minute, Vivek Kumar proved to be Haryana’s star as he struck a brace (23rd, 33rd) to put the rivals in deficit.
Goa, however, upped the ante in the second half, capitalizing on their rival’s complacency. Haryana with a 2-1 lead decided to change stance and shift into defensive gear which worked to Goa’s advantage. This tactic seemed baffling.
Joe Rodrigues worked his way into the Haryana half in the 64th minute after receiving a pass from Girish Naik to surprise Haryana with an equalising goal that brought the match back in balance as Goa were now pressing for victory. [NT]