Jammu and Kashmir Bank (JKB) beat State Bank of Travancore (SBT) 4-1 on penalties to win the G.V. Raja all-India football tournament at the University stadium, Thiruvanathapuram on Monday.
After the teams failed to score during regular time, JKB captain and goalkeeper Vickramjeet Singh stole the limelight in the shootout by blocking Martin John’s kick. Renil’s attempt hit the bar and only Sajith managed to convert. Kareem Omolaja, Badru Keke Ibrahim, Bilal Ahmed and Intikhab Alam converted for JKB.
JKB wisely thought defending was the better option on a day when SBT, backed by boisterous crowd, dominated the midfield. It was apparent in the second half when the Jammu side defended in numbers and played out time.
For legion of SBT fans, it was a sick joke because their team overwhelmed its rival and created numerous chances during regular time.
Bad day for Asif
Star striker Asif Saheer would have to shoulder a lot of the blame as he missed at least four clear chances in the match. Though Asif was kept on a tight leash, the striker showed glimpses of his brilliance by evading his marker and created the first three chances on his own. But he himself messed up the chances.
The only time JKB had a look at the SBT goal came at the fag end of the first half when goalkeeper Keke Ibrahim tested Jean Christian with a long ball.
SBT continued to press in the second half. In the fifth minute, Noushad’s corner curled in and beat Vickramjeet Singh but Omoloja headed out. It resulted in a sequence of four corners which SBT could not convert.
In the 70th minute, Asif made a searing run on the left flank and his cut back put Mohammed Aslam in position but the striker shot out. Thereafter, JKB tightened its defence and baulked all the SBT attempts to score. The missed chances came to haunt SBT in the tie-breaker also.
Kerala Sports Minister M. Vijayakumar gave away the prizes.