Delhi, Haryana fail to qualify
By Debayan Mukherjee, New Delhi, Feb 3 : Delhi and Haryana quashed each other's hopes of a Final Round berth by playing out a 1-1 draw from which neither could profit in their Group A tie of the North Zone in the 68th Santosh Trophy here at the Ambedkar Stadium on Monday.
Abhishek Rawat put Delhi in front in the first half only to see his goal being cancelled out by Haryana central midfielder Vikram who converted from the spot four minutes into the hour mark.
The hosts had their goalkeeper to blame for his indecisiveness from a corner kick in the 63rd minute when he failed to first collect and then clear a tame floater and slapped the ball into the outstretched arms of stopper back Manish Tyagi.
Vikram converted from the spot in the 64th minute to equalise, meaning Delhi finished with four points and Haryana five points. Uttarkhand, courtesy their one-goal win against Chandigarh in the other game of the day, qualified from this Group with seven points from their quota of three matches.
It took the hosts two minutes from the half-hour mark to take the lead after both the outfits had spurned two gilt-edged chances in the first quarter. For Haryana, Mandeep Singh shot straight at the goalkeeper off a Khagender Kant cross while Delhi's lone striker Ajay Bartwal failed to plant his header on a Vikas Rawat corner.
But it was left back Abhishek Rawat who put paid to his team's wait for the elusive with an exquisite first time left-footed effort from 20 yards that curled into the top left corner of the net leaving the diving Haryana custodian with no chance.
Delhi could have been two goals up by halftime had Nathani not shot wide from right-back Jagdeep Singh's put-through.
Playing a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation, Tarun Roy's Delhi looked the more confident of the two in the first period with their counterparts more reliant on long balls which failed to breach the green shirts' rearguard.
Change of ends saw Delhi reverting back to a 4-4-2 in order to protect the slender lead. But their ploy backfired after a sustained spell of pressure from Haryana saw Delhi's Ayush Rai lose his cool under the bar.
Failing to collect the ball from a flag kick, the lanky keeper slapped the ball but could only find the outstretched arms of one of his own inside the dreaded area. The referee pointed towards the spot and Haryana's Vikram sent Ayush the wrong way from six yards to level.
--IBNS (Posted on 04-02-2014)
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