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Do or die for Kerala in Santhosh Trophy semi final against Goa tonight

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017,12:50 IST By joji A A A

Bambolim (Goa) | Goa and Kerala lock horns against each other for a place in the final while Bengal face Mizoram in another semifinal match of the Santosh Trophy football tournament here tonight.

Kerala’s match starts at 7 pm, and it will be telecast live on DD Sports.

Hosts Goa, who lifted the trophy in the 2008-09 edition, have not been in cruise control mode in any of their matches.

A scrappy 2-1 win over Meghalaya in their opening match was followed by dull draws against Bengal and Chandigarh respectively.

However, the last-gasp win over defending champions Services would give them plenty of confidence going into this crucial game tomorrow. The biggest concern facing Goa coach Mateus Costa was that he has been forced to constantly chop and change his side. He has already used three goalkeepers in the four matches.

The defensive combination has changed in all the games and the midfield too has undergone changes due to injuries to Leny Pereira and Francis Fernandes in the last game. Both look doubtful starters tomorrow.

Goa are likely to persist with Bruno Colaco at the goal and a final decision on the fitness of Leny Pereira and Francis Fernandes will be taken tomorrow after consulting the physio.

Utility man Peter Carvalho would feature in defence or midfield depending on Leny’s fitness with Cajetan Fernandes, Glan Martins, Latesh Mandrekar and Brian Mascarenhas likely to make up the rest of the midfield. Young star Liston Colaco is likely to start alongside Aaren D’Silva upfront.

Kerala, on the other hand, have had a relatively easy ride to the semifinals, qualifying with a game to spare.

Striker Jobby Justin, Asharudeen and captain P Usman in attack would be looking to exploit the Goan defence with their pacy runs and sharp finishing while Asharudeen would look to provide all the ammunition from midfield.

A win for Kerala would put them in the final for the first time since the 2012-13 season when they lost to Services on home soil.

In the other semi-final, Bengal will take on Mizoram.

Bengal, winners of the Santosh Trophy for a record 31 times, would look to put it across Mizoram who will be fresh from their 5-1 rout of Railways two days back.