Goa's Comeback Stuns Manipur, Secures Santosh Trophy Final Berth

Goa’s Comeback Stuns Manipur, Secures Santosh Trophy Final Berth

Goa’s resilience shone through as they staged a remarkable comeback from a goal down to defeat Manipur 2-1 in extra time, securing their 14th appearance in the Santosh Trophy final.

The match began with a high tempo, with both teams creating early chances. However, it was Manipur who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Ngangbam Pacha Singh unleashed a stunning strike from 30 yards that left Goa goalkeeper Antonio Dylan Inacio da Silva rooted to the spot.

Goa’s hopes seemed to dwindle as Manipur employed a high press that stifled their passing game. However, the Goan team refused to give up and fought back valiantly. Deep into injury time, Necio Maristo Fernandes produced a moment of brilliance, acrobatically back-volleying the ball into the goal from inside the box to send the game into extra time.

In extra time, Manipur came out strong, but Goa remained resolute and looked to hit on the counter. With just four minutes remaining on the clock, Fernandes struck again, running onto a low center from the right and poking the ball in from close range.

The match ended in a flurry of red cards as tempers flared. Manipur head coach Thangjam Saran Singh and a team staff member were dismissed just after Goa’s second goal, while substitute Sushilkumar Singh was sent off in the sixth minute of injury time in extra time.

Goa’s victory sets up a thrilling final against Services, who defeated Mizoram 2-1 in the other semifinal. The Goan team will be aiming to add to their record-breaking 13 Santosh Trophy titles, while Services will be looking to claim their first title since 2012.