Gujarat advanced to the Santosh Trophy 2020-21 final round after defeating 5-time champions Goa 1-0 at the Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University ground in Bhagvanagar, Goa.
They were held to a goalless draw by Dadra and Nagar Haveli in their first match of the season. In the second match, Gujarat made a strong comeback. Gujarat scored late twice after conceding within the first five minutes.
The hosts won for the first time thanks to goals from Prabaladeep Khare and Jay Kanani. Goa, on the other hand, was on a roll, having won two of their first two matches. In the final match of the group stage, Gujarat faced Goa.
Only the group champions advance to the next round, so the stakes were high for both teams. The Goan team could afford a draw, but it was a must-win game for Gujarat. Gujarat was on the verge of qualifying for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign. They were tied with Tamil Nadu at the time, and the latter qualified on the basis of a coin toss. Finally, on Monday, it was Prabaldeep Khare’s 32nd-minute goal that gave Gujarat the crucial three points and advanced them to the next round of the Santosh Trophy 2020-21 campaign.
India’s premier state-level competition is the Santosh Trophy. This is the 75th edition of the prestigious tournament, which began in 1941. Zonal qualifiers start off the tournament. Gujarat was placed in Group A of the West Zone, alongside heavyweights Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.