By R. Elahi
SRINAGAR: The Jammu & Kashmir senior men’s team on Thursday suffered a heartbreaking draw with Uttar Pradesh Football after they conceded the equaliser in the 91st minute of their third Santosh Trophy North Zone 2021 Group A match. The North Zone qualifiers are taking place at Sports Complex, Chandigarh.
Coach Satpal Singh shuffled a bit with his J&K squad but stuck with the same 4-5-1 formation.
Aakif led J&K’s attack as the target man, while Adeel, Arjun, and Imad formed the trioka of midfielders. Shakir and Mehran played as the two wingmen.
The centre back duo of Arun and Goutam retained their spots in the team after the 3-0 mauling by Services in the previous match. Defender Shahid came into the team as the left-sided fullback, while Faisal retained his spot and played as the right full-back. The other change included Furqan replacing Nirdosh in goal.
J&K started the match well and scored the opening goal through Aakif in the 35th minute of the first half. The team defended astutely and worked as a unit to deny UP any chance for the rest of the 90 minutes.
67th minute substitute Sunil Yadav, however had other ideas, and broke J&K hearts when he scored the equaliser in the 91st minute. Sunil was awarded man of the match for his goal that denied J&K their first win of the campaign. The match ended 1-1.
J&K will next play Himachal Pradesh in an early 9:30 AM fixture on Saturday, November 25. Win-less J&K stay 4th in the 5-team Group A standings, with 2 points from 3 matches. The tie against HP will be a must-win for J&K if they have any chance of qualifying from the group. With Chandigarh and UP right on their heels, the J&K team must register a huge victory from their last match of the group stage.
This is the 75th edition of Santosh Trophy National Football Championship (NFC).
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