Santosh Trophy: Punjab edge past Himachal Pradesh

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) Eight-time champions Punjab scraped past Himachal Pradesh 2-1 in a North Zone Group B match of the 68th National Championships for Santosh Trophy at the Ambedkar Stadium here Friday.

Left-back Aftabvir Singh scored the winner moments before the final whistle turning in Harpreet Singh’s cross. Minutes earlier, Himachal’s Chandan Kumar had cancelled out Sandip Singh’s opening goal.

A goalkeeping gaffe in the 90th minute helped Chandan Kumar make amends for his 66th minute miss as he prodded home Punjab custodian Satvir Singh’s spill from close range.

Himachal could have taken the lead in the 66th minute had striker Chandan’s placement from close not hit the post.

Only a minute later, Himachal were made to pay for their spurned chances as Sandip nodded in striker Taranjit Singh’s corner from the right. Sandip made the most of some porous defending as he was left unmarked at the far post.

In the first half, Punjab forward Gagandeep Singh missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the fifth minute sending his free-header inches wide from a Gurpreet Singh cutback.