Kolkata, March 26: Punjab bounced back from behind to pip Karnataka 2-1, reviving their semi-final hopes while Goa hammered Odisha 6-1 in the National Football Championship for the 72nd Santosh Trophy here on Monday (March 26). Having lost to Mizoram 1-2 in the last match, Punjab trailed 0-1 early in the seventh minute after Rajesh S converted from the spot. The penalty was awarded to Punjab following Sunny's foul on Leon Augustine inside the penalty box. They, however, regrouped to score back-to-back goals via Jitender Singh (18th) and Baltej Singh (26th) for a thrilling win at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium.
The win opened up group B as Karnataka and Punjab, who are on six points each, have chances to make semi-finals.
Goa's big win took them to three points in the group but they have slim chances of making the semi-final.
They have to win their final match against Punjab on March 28 and hope Mizoram beat Karnataka on the same day to qualify for the semis.
Leaders Mizoram have virtually sealed a last-four spot with nine points from three matches.
Victorino Fernandes struck a hattrick (15th, 45+3rd, 54th), while Mackroy (58th), Shubert Pereira (71st) and Marcus Mascarenhas (86th) also found the target once each to lead Goal's goal glut against Odisha.
Sunil Sardar (16th) scores the solitary goal in for Odisha who signed off without a win from four matches.
Karnataka tried their best for an equaliser but apart from testing Moses with a header from Rajesh in the 39th minute, they were not able to create any opportunities as the first half ended 2-1.
Changing over, Karnataka looked better of the two sides but it was Punjab skipper Sarbjit Singh who remained their nemesis with his timely clearances.
Punjab also had a chance to go further up in the 59th minute but Karnataka defender Sunil Kumar made a picture perfect tackle to snatch the ball from Jitender's feet, who had a clear look in front of goal.
Karnataka, towards the end, went all out to grab an equaliser. Although they created numerous scoring opportunities in the final quarter but it was lack of finishing that prevented them scoring as the game ended 2-1 in Punjab's favour.
(Additional inputs from AIFF Media press release)