Kerala edged West Bengal 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw at the end of extra-time to lift the 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
Kerala, which had already beaten West Bengal in the group stage of the tournament, started the brighter of the two sides and vaulted into the lead in the 19th minute with a goal from MS Jithin.
However, West Bengal captain Jiten Murmu equalized in the 66th minute to take the game into extra time.
Vibin Thomas scored a 117th minute goal to put Kerala in the lead once again but the team was unable to see out the game as Tirthankar Sarkar scored from a freekick with virtually the last kick of the game to force a penalty shootout to decide the final.
The last time these two teams met each other in the final (1993-94), West Bengal had won 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 stalemate after extra time, however this time around there was to be no repeat of that as Kerala held its nerve in the shootout with Seesan S stroking in the winning penalty to clinch a memorable victory for his team.
The win saw Kerala lift the trophy for the sixth time.
Both teams had numerous opportunities to score but wasteful finishing meant that the game went into extra time. The game swung Kerala‚Äôs way when West Bengal were reduced to ten men in the 111th minute after Rajon Barman was dismissed for a high boot.
After Vibin Thomas restored Kerala‚Äôs lead, it appeared that the team would hold on to win the trophy in extra time until Tirthankar Sarkar stepped up to stroke home a 126th minute freekick.
Kerala earlier beat Mizoram in the semifinal while West Bengal defeated Karnataka to set up the summit clash. It was the first time since 2004-05 that Kerala had reached the final.
Kerala‚Äôs win also denied West Bengal a record 33rd Santosh Trophy title.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan congratulated the Kerala Football team on winning the 72nd edition of Santosh Trophy. This is the 6th title win for the State. He also congratulated the West Bengal team who put up a great fight to create a thriller of a game. #KERvBEN pic.twitter.com/O1SOoUbfJrCMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) April 1, 2018