AIFF Media Team
SURAT: Kerala added another crown to their bulging cabinet of national football trophies, putting on a show in the final of the National Beach Soccer Championships and overwhelming Punjab 13-4, to win the title, at Dumas Beach, Surat, on February 1, 2023.
The game was a rematch of the group stage, where Punjab had won a close affair 6-5. On this occasion though, Kerala left them no chance, dominant from the first minute to the last. Kerala captain Kamaludheen opened the scoring for Kerala, blasting in a shot from the right 24 seconds after kick off to give them the lead. For the crowd that had arrived to watch this final, it was a precursor for the goal rush to come.
Kerala scored a second with five minutes later, though Punjab pulled one back soon after. The two teams traded a pair of goals again, before Kerala consolidated their lead to go into the first break 4-2.
In the second period, Kerala found a different gear and the goal wagon rolled in. They scored an incredible six goals in the second period, to no reply, leaving Punjab trailing 10-2 going into the final period of play. From there it was a procession, Punjab's efforts to close the gap in vain as Kerala coasted to the title.
In the third place game played earlier in the day, Delhi beat Uttarakhand 3-1.
Kerala's goalkeeper Santhosh Kasmeer was awarded the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Rajasthan's Amit Godara was the highest goalscorer, with 27 goals. The best player of the tournament was awarded to Kerala's Siju S.