Maharashtra, who had thumped Jharkhand 4-1 in their opening match,
top the group with six points from two games after defeating Goa 3-0 in their second quarterfinal league match in Kerala . Tamil Nadu kept their semifinal hopes alive with a hard-fought 3-2 win in the other Group B tie.
Maharashtra’s win means that Tamil Nadu will have to beat Maharasthra, when the two teams meet in the last round of the quarterfinal league on Tuesday. Goa and Jharkhand are out of the tournament.
For Maharashtra its experienced campaigners Mohammed Rafi and N.P. Pradeep came to the fore as the former champion blanked Goa 3-0.
After a barren first half, Mohammed Rafi scored the opening goal. Rafi outsprinted two defenders to reach a long ball lobbed into his path from the middle and scored from top of the box with a powerful right-footer in the 54th minute. N.P. Pradeep, who was chosen as the man-of-the-match, doubled the lead with a brilliant 25-yard free-kick in the 61st minute. Preenel Mendon completed the tally by scoring off a goal-mouth melee in the 76th minute.
Tamil Nadu are in second place with four points from two matches. Tamil Nadu need to beat Maharashtra in their final game on Tuesday to enter the semifinals. Goa, one of the fancied teams here, and Jharkhand have been eliminated.