Bhubaneswar: On a day of high drama, Punjab and Karnataka sealed their spots in the semi finals of the 76th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy, to be staged at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
The two teams had started the day as the ones occupying the top two spots on the table, and despite hiccups, finished it much the same way.
For defending champions Kerala, the road to defend their title ended here after a 1-1 draw with Punjab.
Kerala went into the game with the knowledge that only a win would take them through but all they could achieve was a draw.
Karnataka, despite being safe for the most part, knew that any slip up against Odisha would cost them dearly. Their match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Despite a none-too-impressive performance Karnataka will be relieved to be through, and would have no doubt been on the edge of their seats watching the Kerala-Punjab game’s final moments.
Maharashtra wrapped up their tournament with a comfortable 2-0 win over Goa in the first game of the day at the Capital Football Arena.
With both teams already knocked out of the competition, the dead rubber was all about pride.