Rajat Singh strike helps Uttar Pradesh secure last eight berth

New Delhi, August 28: A 51st-minute strike by Rajat Singh helped Uttar Pradesh beat back a stiff challenge by Telangana 1-0 in a group A league match in the inaugural National Talent Search and Nurture football competition at the Salwan Public School ground in Loni near here today. The second straight win saw the well-oiled Uttar Pradesh book a berth in the quarterfinals of the championship organised by the School Sports Promotion Foundation.

Rajasthan and Jharkhand assured themselves places in the knockout phase from Group B with their second successive victories over Chhattisgarh 4-0 and Karnataka 8-0 respectively at the DPS Ghaziabad ground while Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir posted facile victories over Madhya Pradesh 4-0 and Andhra Pradesh 5-1 in the three-team Groups C and D respectively.

Odisha bounced back from a big loss on Saturday to Uttar Pradesh with a 5-0 verdict over Maharashtra 5-0 to stay afloat in Group A. Muka Kabasi (13th minute), Khageswar Tangulu (27), Sushanta Gudia (47) and a brace by Rabindra Kunibudi (50 and 54) ensured that Odisha would go into its final league game against Telangana with the chance of making it to the last eight.

Two goals in either half set up Rajasthan’s conquest of Karnataka. Sikandar (seventh minute) and Shaurya Singh (10th) scored in the first half while Brighu’s brace (53 and 68 minutes) completed the tally, helping Rajasthan go into its final league game against Jharkhand with confidence. Jharkhand’s Raj Kishore, who scored a hat-trick in the opening game against Karnataka on Saturday, pumped in four goals against Chhattisgarh in the sixth, 30, 63 and 71minutes today. Samir (36 and 39), Jitendra 63 and Anil (66) accounted for the other goals.

Haryana beat Madhya Pradesh 4-0 in the opening Group C game in Loni. Aayan (fourth and 57th minutes), Hansit (42) and Ashwin (48) ensured that their team put the best foot forward in the race for the quarterfinals. Similarly, Vildaan (10), Sambhav (16 and 18) and Ali (63 and 68) scored for a talented Jammu and Kashmir outfit against Andhra Pradesh in Group D. K Anjaneyulu (49) found a consolation goal.

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