Calcutta: Bengal rode Nabin Hela’s strike, beating Karnataka by a solitary goal in their first quarter final league tie of the Santosh Trophy, in Quilon, on Saturday.
Hela tapped home a set up from Francis Xavier, using his left-foot to perfection. The 32nd-minute conversion eventually turned out to be the deciding factor as the Bengal camp is certainly relieved having got off to a winning start.
“We dominated for a better part of the game today. Throughout, the midfield was well under our control, with our opponents hardly able to make any inroads,” captain Dipendu Biswas said from Kochi, adding: “So far in the competition, we are yet to concede a goal, which only reflects the strength of our defence.
“If we continue to be strong defensively, I do feel we have a decent chance of going the distance.”
For Hela, the challenge lies in putting up an even better performance in the coming matches.
“I know there are far tougher challenges awaiting me. And the going will only get difficult from hereon, ” Hela said.
Dipendu, too, lauded the 21-year-old striker. “Nabin is certainly a promising player. It’s been long since I last saw a footballer from Bengal with a good left foot.”