Kerala runs Andhra uneven in 5-0 beating

KOZHIKODE: The best of the Santosh Trophy Besides that the repeated part is often an emotion and everything is that every year the competition produces stars. Shy college students become stubborn ball players, while unannounced talents become familiar names, all in an instant.

The former annual football event that has slipped in the hierarchical order of Indian football In terms of relevance, even so, somehow, he manages to make a casual pause of the fans and take note. It is the individuals, as is often the case, that attract attention; as true Abdul Hakkim or Naushad, Asif Saheer, Afdal or a Sahal who have left their indelible mark over the years.

A whole new generation of footballers, aiming to make it big, is coming through, and a glimpse of what the future has in store for Kerala football was on display in the opener of the Santosh Trophy south zone qualifiers that began at the EMS Corporation Stadium here on Tuesday.

Kerala crushed a shy Andhra Pradesh 5-0. Emil Benny , 19, rose from the bank to store an orthopedic device, a sumptuous one. Leon Augustine, 21, captivated attendees with his movements; movements that made a difference, like delivering the corner that helped Vibin thomas He goes to the first game and gracefully executes a penalty moments later.

Replaced by the last fifteen minutes, another young man, Shihad N, took full advantage with a header in loop, in additional time, to crown a five-star performance for coach Bino George's side.

Kerala's captain and goalkeeper, Midhun V, who had to wait 18 minutes from the kick-off to touch the ball, an innocuous step back that turned out to be, was all smiles. We knew we would have a lot of possession and the boys surely scored some wonderful goals, Midhun said.

The fixture, one might argue, was kind enough. Andhra Pradesh lacked ambition. It was a game tailor-made for the home side to experiment and they did just that by sending in the youngest of the lot - 18-year-old PV Vishnu - to lead the line, in a 4-3-3 formation. Leon and Jithin MS planted on the wings while Hrishidhath was given the license to make run-ins down the middle. Vibin thomas and G Sanju stayed astute in front of Midhun while Sreerag and Ajin Tom owned the flanks.

Vishnu's debut, however, was not a dream as it was replaced after 38 minutes, giving way to Emil; A masterful substitution that changed the game.

For starters, Kerala showed an air of arrogance, only that there was not enough conviction to match his arrogance during the first half hour when Andhra frustrated them in part because of Ajay Kumar's brave goalkeeper. Jijo Joseph and Akhil Praveen in the middle of the field formed a good pair that had a lot of grace and vision. However, sometimes they were too languid, which was partly the reason for Kerala's slow start.

Okay, they need to get in the right rhythm, Bino George said after the game. There are areas that we can still improve, but we will continue to play football entertaining as we did today, said the lovely former Gokulam coach.

Result: Kerala 5 ( Vibin thomas 44, Leon Augustine 45+2, Emil Benny 53, 63, Shihad 90+2) bt Andhra Pradesh 0.