Calcutta: Bengal’s chances of booking a Santosh Trophy semi-final berth suffered a blow as they lost to Punjab 3-4 in a Group D quarter final league tie, in Quilon, on Monday.
Bengal’s failure to convert chances eventually led to reversal. But they showed plenty of character as they came back whenever Punjab looked to gain control.
Early in the match, Jagannath Sana squandered two relatively easy chances, while Nabin Hela failed to convert a spot-kick at the hour mark. Punjab then made full use of the reprieves, with Sajandeep Singh scoring in the 15th minute to take his team ahead before Prem Kumar doubled the lead 10 minutes later.
Punjab scored their third through Aftab Vir Singh a minute into the second session, as it looked all over for Bengal.
However, instead of getting bogged down and surrendering to the circumstances, Bengal kept on exerting pressure.
Their efforts paid off as Jagannath Sana and captain Dipendu Biswas, who came in as a substitute in the 61st minute, soon made it 2-3 with still more than 10 minutes of regulation time remaining.
Punjab believed they have regained the momentum with yet another strike from Prem in the 79th minute.
But soon after, Hela struck to once again force Punjab into the defensive.