Santosh Trophy 2018 Final Match Preview
32 times champion Bengal will lock horns against the 5 times champions rejuvenated Kerala in the final of the 72nd Santosh Trophy at Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan on Sunday. A clash between two states where football is the prime sport in a cricketing nation, a rare treat for the football lovers of the country.
●Recent Form :
○ WEST BENGAL
Bengal 3-0 Manipur
Bengal 5-1 Maharashtra
Bengal 1-0 Chandigarh
Bengal 0-1 Kerala
Bengal 2-0 Karnataka ( Semi Final )
Kerala 5-1 Chandigarh
Kerala 6-0 Manipur
Kerala 3-0 Maharashtra
Kerala 1-0 Bengal
Kerala 1-0 Mizoram ( Semi Final )
West Bengal and Kerala both played their game with attacking intent from the very beginning of the Santosh Trophy. In the final, eyes will be on several players from both teams. For Bengal, there are some players who performed well through out the tournament. Captain Jiten Murmu, Tirthankar Sarkar, Sumit Das and young Bidyasagar Singh played the role of anchors through out the tournament.
Kerala has showed their allround abilities in the tournament on the other hand. In defence, captain Rahul V Raj has played well. Goalkeeper Midhun V has done a great job. He saved his team in different occasions against mighty Mizoram in the semis and Bengal in the group league match. Kerala has some exciting players in midfield and striking zone also who can impose threat on the Bengal defence if the don’t remain cautious. Players like Jithin Gopalan, Jithin MS have taken an important role for Kerala to take them to the final. The hero of the U-17 World Cup Rahul Kannoly Parveen, one of those excited players who played brilliantly through out the tournament. He scored the only goal for Kerala in defeating Bengal in the group league match. Players like Rahul KP, Jithin MS, Jithin Gopalan are already in the radar of Kingfisher East Bengal Club if sources are to be believed. Victory in the final can make it real for them.
●Head To Head :
1993-94 was the season when last time the two teams locked horns in the final where Bengal defeated Kerala in the tiebreaker (5-3) after the regulation time ended 2-2. Custodian Tanumay Bose took an important role for Bengal in the tiebreaker. Interestingly after the tournament, Jo Paul Ancheri came into limelight after his brilliant performance for Kerala in the tournament. He was picked up by Mohun Bagan later. Another Keralite lad, legendary IM Vijayan was there in Bengal’s jersey.
The match will be on 1st April on Sunday. The game will be played on 2.30 PM at Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan, Saltlake. There’s no such official announcement about the TV broadcast yet.
● Probable XI :
○ WEST BENGAL :
Ranajit Majumdar, Ankit Mukherjee, Prosenjit Pal, Sourav Dasgupta, Nabi Hossain Khan, Sanchayan Samaddae, Monotosh Chakladar, Tirthankar Sarkar, Sumit Das, Bidyasagar Singh, Jiten Murmu
Midhun V, Rahul V Raj, Lijo S, Sreerag G, Jithin Gopalan, Seesan S, Sajith Poulose, Anurag PC, Rahul Kannoly Parveen, Jithin MS, Vibin Thomas
●Writer’s Take :
I feel every football fan will be waiting for the match. Defending champions Bengal will be eyeing to win it again in front of their crowd where as Kerala will be looking to end up the draught of 13 years. They last won the trophy back in 2004-05 season defeating Punjab by 3-2 in the final. They played the final of 2012-13 season against Services where they lost in the tie-breaker in front of their crowd.
A flow has come in Keralian football offlate, a number of talented Keralian players have been picked up by the professional clubs. Prasanth K, Mirshad Michu, Joby Justin, Ubaid CK, Rahul KP, Ajith Sivan, Abdul Hakku, Jishnu Balakrishnan, Sahal Abdul Samad the list goes on. The long awaited Santosh Trophy title may prove to be a huge boost and also a dose of revival for Keralian Football while for West Bengal, nothing short of the title would be satisfactory.