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This article was first published 1 year ago  » Sports » RoundGlass Punjab clinch historic I-League; Karnataka bag Santosh Trophy

RoundGlass Punjab clinch historic I-League; Karnataka bag Santosh Trophy

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 04, 2023 23:59 IST
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IMAGE: RoundGlass Punjab FC won the title with a game to spare. Photograph: RoundGlass Punjab FC/Twitter

RoundGlass Punjab on Saturday entered their name in the history books by winning the I-League title with a game to spare, after notching up a dominating 4-0 victory over Rajasthan United in New Delhi.

The champions' entry into the top-tier ISL, however, is subject to fulfilment of financial criteria as agreed upon by all stakeholders.


Chencho Gyeltshen (16th), Luka Majcen (40th), Juan Mera 76th, Hmingthanmawia (91st) scored for Punjab, while Rajasthan drew a blank in the crucial match.

It was yet another flawless performance by Staikos Vergetis's team at the Ambedkar Stadium as the victory gave RoundGlass an unassailable eight-point lead atop the points table, crushing Sreenidi Deccan's hopes.

The I-League trophy will return to Punjab for the first time since 2017-18, when Minerva Punjab won it.

This success will taste sweeter as it helped RoundGlass inch closer to a berth in the Indian Super League – the top tier of club football -- as well as earning them a direct entry into the season-ending Super Cup.

Hero of the Match Chencho Gyeltshen capitalised on a defensive error in the 16th minute to start the scoring spree.

Khaiminthang Lhungdim crossed from the right wing and the defender standing ahead of Gyeltshen out-jumped him but missed the header. Gyeltshen did not. It took a deflection off Yash Tripathi and went in.

Rajasthan's Uzbek midfielder Otabek Zokirov failed to score in the 25th minute when his booming left-footer from just outside the box was kept out by Kiran Limbu.

His counterpart, Vishal Joon, did the same a couple of minutes later to deny Luka Majcen, who still has a match in hand to overtake Sreenidi's David Castaneda as the top-scorer of this I-League.

However, the Slovenian was not to be denied for long. He got his share of the pie in the 40th minute as Ajay Chhetri crossed from the left.

Four Rajasthan United men stood in a line, none of them trying to clear it. Luka headed home coming in from behind, as Amritpal Singh remained a spectator.

Even though Rajasthan had enough ball possession, they did not have anybody forceful up front like Gyeltshen, Luka or Mera to pressurise the RoundGlass defence.

It seemed a matter of time before the Punjab team increased the margin. That finally happened when the three forwards combined in the 76th minute.

Luka floated the ball in from the right of the midfield to the left of the Rajasthan United box. Gyeltshen grabbed it and passed it to Mera.

The Spaniard, with his first touch, dragged the ball with the left foot and turned to shake off his marker. He then sent a right-footed grounder to the corner of the net and soon took off his jersey in celebration.

In another match, Aizawl FC and Churchill Brothers Goa settled for a 1-1 draw at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl.

Both goals came in the first half – while Anil Rama Goalkar put Churchill ahead in the 19th minute, R Lalthanmawia equalised for the home team four minutes later.

The second half was a combination of missed chances and strong defending by both sides, resulting in the deadlock. The earlier match between the two teams also ended in a draw.

While Churchill now have 30 points from 21 matches, Aizawl have 25 points.

Karnataka crowned Santosh Trophy champions after 54 years


Photograph: Kind courtesy Indian Football Team/Twitter

Karnataka were on Saturday crowned champions of the Santosh Trophy after a gap of 54 years with Robin Yadav's stunning first-half free-kick being the highlight of their dominating 3-2 win over Meghalaya in the summit clash in Riyadh.

M Sunil Kumar (third minute), Bekey Oram (20th) and Robin Yadav (44th) scored for Karnataka while Meghalaya found the target through Brolington Warlarpih (eighth) and Sheen Sohktung (60th) at the King Fahd International Stadium.

This was Karnataka's first title after 1968-69 and fifth overall, counting their four earlier triumphs as Mysore, their previous name before 1973. They had last finished runners-up in 1975-76.
For Meghalaya, it was their maiden entry in the final.

The final was basically between two leagues at the two state capitals. Almost all the Karnataka players were from Bangalore Super Division League while a majority of the Meghalaya players were plying their trade at Shillong Premier League. Meghalaya also had four players playing in the Bangalore Super Division League.

The two sides played with similar style, keeping the ball and building up with short and ground passes. But the attackers of Karnataka, who had made it to the final after beating Services in the semifinals, were able to breach the Meghalaya defence several times.

Meghalaya, who were victorious against Punjab in the semifinals, also did a lot of attacking but they lost the ball in the final third a lot of time.

Karnataka took the lead in the third minute which began from a throw in. Captain Karthik Swamy headed down inside the box and M Sunil Kumar's right footer deflected from a Meghalaya defender to go into the net.

Five minutes later, Meghalaya forward Sheen Sohktung was tripped inside the box by Karnataka defender G Nikhil in the eighth minute. Brolington Warlarpih stepped up to take the penalty kick and sent Karnataka goalkeeper Satyajit Bordoloi the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Meghalaya were in the ascendency for a while after the equaliser and they had some beautiful build-ups to threaten the Karnataka citadel.

In the 10th minute, Meghalaya's Figo Syndai had a chance off a pass from Sheen Sohktung but he shot over.

Karnataka were again in the lead in the 20th minute with Bekey Oram's shot hitting the underneath of the bat before going in off a cross from the left.

Karnataka doubled the lead in the 44th minute with Robin Yadav scoring from a free kick. The former India Under-19 player, who is currently playing for Bengaluru FC reserve team, curled the ball into the top corner of the net and to the left of Meghalaya goalkeeper Rajat Paul Lyngdoh.

Meghalaya pulled one back in the 60th minute through Sheen Sohktung whose right footer beat the goalkeeper after Donlad Diengdoh had run a dummy off a cross from Banskhemlang Mawlong from the right.

Earlier, Services beat Punjab 2-0 to take the third spot. 

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