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Punjab bank on home support vs Services in final

Saturday - April 20, 2019 4:08 pm , Category : SPORTS
Ludhiana, April 20 (IANS) Punjab will bank on home support at the Guru Nanak Stadium when they face-off against Services in the Santosh Trophy final here on Sunday.
Being the home side, Punjab have enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the local fans, something that propelled them to gain a last-gasp win in their last two games -- against Karnataka in Group B and against Goa in the semi-final.
"Of course, playing on our home ground brings its own advantages. We will have the support of the local people behind us which gives a lot of motivation to the players", said Punjab assistant coach Bikramjit Singh on the eve of the match.
Services Head Coach Parshuram Salwadi echoed Bikramjit's feelings, saying that having a packed stadium behind them would be a key advantage for Punjab.
"Playing a team like Punjab will be very tough in the final, especially with the home support. We faced them in 2015, but it will be different this time as they are the home team. This is their biggest strength," said Salwadi.
The two teams had previously faced off in the final four years back in the 2014-15 season, a match that also incidentally took place at the same venue. While the match itself remained goalless, Services triumphed in penalties by a 5-4 margin.
"We have more flair than them. We've already beaten them on a few occasions before. But we need to be careful. They have also beaten us in the 2014-15 Santosh Trophy Final, so we cannot take them lightly", said Bikramjit.
"They have very good coordination in attack. We brought the whole team to the stadium to watch their semi-final against Karnataka and explained to them how they generate their attacks. So we have made our plans for them accordingly," he continued.
Services have been one of the most consistent sides in the Final Round of the 2018-19 Santosh Trophy so far; they have been unbeaten in their five matches thus far, netting 11 while conceding just three.
"Definitely, our defence has done really well. We have seen that our team can score at any time. But if we stay strong defensively, it will give our attackers that platform to go on and do well," added Salwadi.
Punjab will be at a slight disadvantage with regard to player availability as their young right-back Chetan Kumar has been ruled out due to a knee injury which he suffered while going for a tackle in their semi-final against Goa.

--IANS dm/kk/bg