In the opening match of the Hero Santosh Trophy South zone qualifiers, Andhra Pradesh pulled off a 1-1 draw against strong contender Tamil Nadu. The match was played at the Bharathi Stadium here on Sunday.
A huge crowd accumulated at the national championship that happened in this town for the first time. There was a huge cheer around the event. But the match turned out to be a shock for them as the visiting side drew first blood in the 12th minute.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) February 3, 2019
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Tamil Nadu vs Andhra Pradesh: As it happened
With one team advancing from the group, this draw means that Tamil Nadu now needs to defeat Karnataka by a big margin to harbour any chance of qualifying.
A big mistake was caught by the referee when J.R. Anand Raj tackled G. Manjunath from behind, and from inside the danger area. The team had to pay for it as Manjunath converted the penalty with ease.
The early goal forced the Tamil Nadu boys to go all out. They managed to keep control and even cut open the defence on numerous occasion but lacked the finishing skills.
Jones Antony played undoubtedly well and one could observe the great understanding between him and Syed Suhail Pasha on the upfront.
Due to an injury, Jones Antony had to take voluntary exit midway. The team tried their level best but could not find the equaliser which became a huge disappointment for the team.
The second half too did not turn in favour for the Andhra Pradesh team as the host was dominating. But they cleverly played the remaining match and some strategies worked for them. They even went for the counter.
On the other hand, the Tamil Nadu team displayed speed but lacked efficiency in their crosses. They were miserable at packing it.
The Tamil Nadu boys displayed speed but failed miserably in their crosses. They either packed it early or late. After a long haul in the middle, the host managed to find the equaliser through T. Vijay in the 63rd minute.
Suhail Pasha struck a powerful right-footer only to find Andhra’s custodian T. Ajay Kumar block his effort. But Vijay was quick to pick the rebound and packed it neatly into the net much to the joy of the team.
Tamil Nadu could have scored many more countable goals during this period but Ajay’s great performance helped the team salvage a draw.
Disappointments for Tamil Nadu team coach
Tamil Nadu coach V. Soundararajan was disappointed as wanted his boys to score more goals but they could manage only one.
“There’s no time to relax from here. We will have to go all out against Karnataka to qualify,” he said.
On the other hand, Andhra team’s coach Zakeer Hussain was happy and pleased with the performance of his team. “Tamil Nadu dominated but Ajay was our star. I am happy with the result,” he said.
Tamil Nadu 1 (T. Vijay 63) drew with Andhra Pradesh 1 (G. Manjunath 12).
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