Shillong, Feb 21: Services defeated Meghalaya 1-0 in their Group A fixture of the 77th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy 2023-24 final round in Itanagar today.

The only goal came deep into stoppage time when Shafeel PP (90’+6) converted a spot kick following a handball by Damonlang Pathaw.

Apart from the final, where they lost to Karnataka, Meghalaya’s only defeat in last year’s Santosh Trophy was to Services. That match was also the first of the final round and Meghalaya still went on to reach the final.

The goal came about after a free-kick was headed away to the edge of the box but a powerful shot from a Services player connected with Damonlang’s raised arm, resulting in a penalty.

Khlain Pyrkhat Syiemlieh’s boys had the slight edge in terms of possession (52% to 48%) and more shots on target (6 to 2) but couldn’t convert that into goals.

The Meghalaya defence was a little too open, giving their opponents numerous opportunities to get into dangerous positions, but Services were also mostly off the mark with their attempts.

In today’s other match from the group, Kerala defeated Assam 3-1.

Meghalaya will next play Assam on Friday at 2:30PM.

Meghalaya’s squad today: 
Lionel Daryl Rymmei (GK), Wanboklang Lyngkhoi, Lukas Syngkli, Donborlang Nongkynrih, Overkindness Lyngdoh Mawnai, Dawanchwa Challam, Nikelson Bina (sub Nelson Rymbai 67′), Dameki Khongstia (sub Damonlang Pathaw 51′), Sheen Sohktung (sub Kitboklang Pale 90’+2), Chesterpaul Lyngdoh (sub Babysunday Marngar 67′), Shaiborlang Kharpan

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