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Bengal beat Jharkhand 2-1

Bengal beat Jharkhand 2 1 Despite a good show, an own goal by Jharkhand defender Konsham Sana allowed Bengal qualify in the final round of 69th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy after a 2-1 victory at JRD Tata Sports complex on Monday.

Bengal had to sweat it out throughout the proceedings even though Nilkanta Paria put the team into lead in the 32nd minute in the East Zone leg tournament match.

Paria received an accurate cross from left flank on a counter-attack and found the target, leaving the home team defenders unmoved.

Jharkhand regrouped immediately and went all out for an equalizer but in vain as Bengal defenders successfully foiled all the moves.

Retaliating the aggressive approach of the host team, Bengal capitalized on good passes and combination, raiding the rival citadel at regular intervals. They had two close chances to score but shot wide on each occasion.

Amid intensified attacking game, Konsham wanted to hold on a pass in the box but the ball deflected from his body and crossed the goal-line in the 69th minutes.

Both teams committed fouls, forcing the referee to cautioned as many as seven players, including four of the host team.

Playing before the moderate home crowd, Jharkhand players kept building pressure in the last quarter of the proceedings.

They succeeded in scoring when defender Iban Kupar Dohling converted a spot kick awarded after a Bengal player engaged in a reckless tackle inside the box in the 82nd minute.

Bengal, who had defeated Bihar, topped the point chart with six points with this victory and qualified for the final round from Group A.

In the crucial last league engagement of Group B, Railways, who had six points from two wins, will lock horns with Odisha, which had four points from one draw and a win, for a berth in the final found to be held in Goa from February 20 to March 10.

– PTI