Neyveli: Services beat Kerala 1-0 Friday in a Group B match in the South Zone qualifier of the 73rd Santosh Trophy football tournament here to send the defending champion out of contention.
Bikash Thapa's 63rd minute strike secured former champion Services' entry into the main rounds and sealed Kerala's fate.
Kerala had drawn the two previous games against Telangana and Puducherry.
In another match, Telangana was held to a goalless draw by Puducherry, ending the team's hopes of advancing.
A victory for Kerala or a draw would have helped Telangana qualify.
Karnataka qualified from Group 'B', after drawing its final league match with host Tamil Nadu.