| BIJEN: Scoring a brace
Imphal, Oct. 26: India international Bijen Singh continued to spell wonders for Manipur in the ongoing Santosh Trophy. Bijen scored a brace and set up another double as Manipur demolished Orissa 4-1 in a group D quarter final round robin league match on Saturday.
Earlier, Mahendra Mani and S. Sunil scored apiece to help Karnataka down Punjab in a group C match.
Bengal, who secured three points defeating Assam on Friday, will face defending champions Kerala in group A in Sundayís first match while Maharashtra, who held Services 1-1, will meet Railways, in the second tie.
The joining of Mohun Baganís Rennedy Singh in the team was a perfect morale-booster for the hosts as Manipur took control of the match right from the beginning. Moreover, presence of other national players like L. Manitombi and Tomba Singh also helped Manipurís cause.
Nine minutes into the match, Bijen handed Manipur the lead. However, Orissa equalised in the 34th minute through Premchand Singh.
But their joy was short-lived as L. Tiken found the target for Manipur in a couple of minutes.
Manipur upped their tempo in the second half and in the 60th minute, Tomba made it 3-1. Then minutes before time, Bijen rounded off the tally to emerge current top-scorer in the tournament, leading Bengalís Dipendu Biswas by a goal.
In the earlier match, both Karnataka and Punjab started on attacking soccer. However, soon Karnataka gradually got foothold in the match.
In the 22nd minute, Mani took a powerful shot from close range, giving Punjab custodian no chance to react. Trailing, Punjab were galvanised into a cohesive unit, creating some gilt-edged opportunities. But their forwards missed all those chances until Sunilís 30th minute strike spoiled their part once and for all.