Santosh Trophy final: Services defeat Punjab to lift the trophy.
by Shubham Sharma
Ludhiana: Services defeated hosts Punjab by 1-0 to lift the Santosh Trophy of 2018-19 season. Services came into this game on the back of a 4-3 win over Karnataka. On the other hand, Punjab came into the ultimate contest courtesy a 2-1 win over Goa in the semis.
Services were dominant in the contest right from the beginning, managing to not just hold the Lion's share of possession but also spending most of their time in the opposition half. However, the side did not manage to create many clear-cut chances and this resulted in the scoreline being goal-less at the stroke of halftime.
Punjab tried to look for opportunities on counter with a strategy to win the ball physically in the midfield. But the hosts did not manage to threaten the opposition defence. In the second half, the Services continued to patiently knock the door and finally managed to get the breakthrough as Bikash Thapa managed to open the account for the visiting side in the 61st minute.
Lallawmkima managed to get hold of the ball near the edge of the area during the attack which he then squared to Thapa, as the latter slotted the ball home calmly. Punjab had a couple of chances after Thapa's goal to find the equaliser , but Services held on till the final minute to win the game.
This is the sixth time Services have won the tournament after coming 11 times into the finals. They also had managed to defeat Punjab the last time these two sides met in a final, having defeated the latter by 5-4 in a penalty shootout affair in the 2014-15 edition of the tournament.