Nagpur, March 13 (IANS) Services scored two goals within a space of 11 minutes to retain the 70th National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy beating hosts Maharashtra 2-1 in the final at the SEC Railway Stadium here on Sunday.
This was the fifth triumph for Services. Arjun Tudu scored both the goals for the Services, in the 26th and the 37th minute. Mohammed Shabaz scored the only goal for Maharashtra.
Services were down to 10 men in the 88th minute when Hardik Kanojiya was flashed the red card.
Services got a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh for winning the tournament while Maharashtra received Rs. 3 lakh.
Maharashtra surged ahead in the 15th minute. Mervin Stephen’s diagonal pass was smartly converted by Shabaz.
Services equalised 11 minutes later with Tudu creating space for Francis Zununtluanga to essay an accurate pass in the box. Tudu placed the ball neatly.
Play thereafter was mostly confined to midfield with both teams unable to create chances.
In the 37th minute, a defensive lapse inside the Maharashtra box presented Tudu a chance and he grabbed it by guiding the ball into the deep corner of the net.
Maharashtra regrouped and attacked. With Services preferring to push back, the second half was mostly confined to their half.
Backed by the home crowd who were growing impatient with every minute, Maharashtra pressed and got chances but could not capitalise upon them.