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Punjab set up title clash with Bengal

Source: PTI
December 19, 2002 22:51 IST
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Title-holders Punjab blanked Services 4-0 to set up a summit clash with Bengal, who edged past Tamil Nadu 1-0 in the men's football semi-finals at the 32nd National Games in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Punjab made good use of the flanks to open up a 3-0 lead at the breather before adding another goal in the second session to put the issue beyond Services at the Lal Bhadur Shastri stadium.

Guravinder Pal Singh and Surjit Singh scored a brace each.

Earlier, Bengal rode on a Supratik Aind strike to end dark horse Tamil Nadu's fine run in the tournament.

Punjab pulverised Services with late first-half charges, slamming in three goals within a space of five minutes.

Guravinder Pal Singh found the target in the 36th minute, before Surjit Singh headed in twice in the 39th and 41st
minutes following floaters from the right.

Guravinder, who spearheaded the Punjab moves with his quick manoeuvres, completed Services' misery with a fine
goal in the 79th minute.

The final will be played at the same venue on December 21.

Services and Tamil Nadu will clash for the bronze at the Police grounds the same day.

In the other last four exchange, Bengal dominated for most part of the 90-minute exchange before striking the winner
in the 76th minute following a combined move from the left. Striker Syed Rahim Nabi's volley rebounded off Tamil Nadu custodian Douglas Ponraj's hands before Pradip Indu's second sortie came off the goalkeeper's body.

An unmarked Aind, who replaced Amar Pyne in the 65th minute, then put the ball in from top of the six-yard box to
ensure Bengal's passage to the final after the side's consecutive ouster from the group stages in the two previous
editions of the Games in Imphal and Punjab.

The Tamil Nadu defence, which held firm in the first-half, collapsed in the second session as Bengal launched relentless raids with their medios striking up a good combination with the strikers.

Tamil Nadu, who stepped up gears after conceding the goal, were unlucky not to have restored parity eighth minutes
from time as a K Kumaravelua power-packed 30-yarder hit the bar.

Earlier, Bengal got a couple of chances in the first-half with skipper Dipendu Biswas playing pivotal roles on both occasions.

In the 16th minute, Biswas received a loose ball and let go a powerful shot which was saved by Tamil Nadu custodian Douglas Ponraj, who dived to his right.

Towards the close of the first-half, Biswas unleashed a rasping low long ranger which was fisted away by Ponraj.

Tamil Nadu, who attacked on the break, came close to scoring in the 28th minute, when P Muthu latched on to a Jestes Anthony through, and ran a solo, but Bengal custodian Prashanta Dora managed to save the situation at the cost of a
corner.

Three minutes from the breather another sudden Tamil Nadu counter saw P Selvakumar essay a fine through to M Jagan, whose shot was partially saved by Dora, before stopper Insan Ali put the ball over the goalline to concede a corner.

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