Cuttack, May 28 (IANS) Services clinched their second National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy beating Tamil Nadu 3-2 in a plusating final at the Barabati Stadium here Monday.
Services mid-fielder Sanju Subba (45th) scored the first goal - his right footer curling away from Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Akhil Soman. Subrata Sarkar doubled the lead in the 49th minute while V.V. Farhad tapped it past an onrushing Akhil for Services' third goal in the 67th minute.
Santa Kumar and M.Ramesh reduced the margin for Tamil Nadu in the 82nd and the 89th minute respectively.
The 90 minutes storm and the torrential downpour prior to the kick-off made the Barabati Stadium, perhaps the most pleasant place to be under the lights.
By the time it started to drizzle midway into the first half, Services had already seized the initiative. On slippery underfoot conditions, they kept possession of the ball but not being allowed the width to penetrate into the box, they stayed content in taking snap shots from outside the box.
First, captain Gordon Zoramchhana's shot dipped at the last moment to bounce off the crosspiece and then in the 17th minute, Z.V.Horin's shot found Tamil Nadu central defender Suman Raj on the way.
As they are wont to do, Tamil Nadu relied on counter-attacks and their first worth-mentioning move didn't come till the 22nd minute - Jayakumar's angular shot just going wide. Their best chance of the first half came in the 44th minute when Charles Anand Raj outjumped rival central defender Rary Raj to head Nirmal Kumar's cross but Services goalkeeper AK Balwant thwarted it in his second attempt.
But Services pressed hard and were eventually rewarded on the counter attack. Sanju Subba's powerful right-footer from just outside the box curled away from Akhil to bulge the net in the 45th minute as Services went into the interval enjoying a one-goal cushion.
Immediately after resumption, Services doubled their lead. With the drizzle still on, Horin's grounder came out of a diving Akhil's palms and Subrata Sarkar tapped it in.
Two goals within five minutes of play (of either half) upset Tamil Nadu's calculations. Frustrated, they tried to come out of their shell and it further helped Services. The raid of attacks earned them their 3rd goal - Farhad placing it in past an onrushing Akhil.