New Delhi, Feb 7 – Defending champions Kerala will take on Goa in the opening match at the Capital Football Arena when the final round of the Santosh Trophy begins on Friday.
The opening day of action will feature three games from Group A. After the Kerala-Goa clash, Odisha, hosting the tournament for the first time since May 2012, will play Maharashtra, while eight-time champions Punjab battle it out against Karnataka at the 7th Battalion Ground.
Group B, beginning the next day, features six teams as well, including direct final round entrants Railways and Services. They take on Manipur and Meghalaya, respectively, in their first matches. Last year’s runners-up West Bengal will start their final-round campaign against Delhi.
Matches are set to take place in three venues — Capital Football Arena, 7th Battalion Ground and the Kalinga Stadium. The last round of group matches may be played simultaneously across the three stadiums depending upon the standings after the penultimate round of games.
The top two teams from both groups will progress to the knockout rounds (semifinal and final) to be held in Saudi Arabia.