On Wednesday Meghalaya and Karnataka stunned former champions Punjab and Services respectively to set up a high-voltage final in the Santosh Trophy national football championships. Meghalaya showcased a spirited display as they rallied from a goal deficit to beat 8-time champions Punjab 2-1 in the first semi-final to enter final for the first time.
Karnataka defeated Services, who have bagged five titles in the last 10 years, 3-1 in the second semi-final to enter their first final in 37 years. Karnataka were in the final last time in 1975-76 when they lost to Bengal.
Meghalaya and Karnataka final match will be played on Saturday while the third place playoff between Punjab and Services will also be played earlier in the day. Punjab reached the semi-finals without losing a match. The third-place play-off and final will be played in Riyadh as the Santosh Trophy is being held on foreign shores for the first time in its history.
Punjab’s Paramjit Singh put the team ahead in the 16th minute but Megahlaya restored parity in the 37th minute through Figo Synda. Sheen Stevenson Sohktung found the target in injury time (90+1) in a match played at an almost empty King Fahd International Stadium.
Both Services and Karnataka were on equal terms before a three-goal explosion in the last 5 minutes of the first half in the second semifinals.