Kozhikode: Hosts Kerala qualified for the final leg of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship with a commanding 6-0 win over Tamil Nadu here on Saturday.
Kerala, who needed only a draw from their final South Zone Group A qualifier to advance, shot into lead in the 24th minute through Vishnu.
M S Jithin made it 2-0 with a solo effort in the 33rd and the winger netted on the stroke of half-time to put Kerala in the driver's seat.
Mousoof Nizan increased the lead in the 83rd, while Jijo and Emil Benny found the target in injury time to complete a thumping win as Kerala made up for the disappointment of not qualifying for the final round last year.
Bino George-coached Kerala had drubbed Andhra 5-0 in their opening match in Group A, while Tamil Nadu tamed the same opponents 4-1.
Only the group toppers qualified for the final round to be held in Mizoram from January 10, 2020.
Six-time champions Kerala have been clubbed along with Delhi, Services, Meghalaya and Jharkhand in Group A.
Karnataka, who were the other team to qualify from South Zone, have been placed in Group B along with West Bengal, Goa, Punjab and Mizoram.
Kerala will take on Delhi in the opening match on January 10, 2020.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals.
The final will be played on January 23, 2020.
Final round groupings: Group A: Kerala, Delhi, Services, Meghalaya and Jharkhand.
Group B: Karnataka, West Bengal, Goa, Punjab and Mizoram.
January 10, 2020: Delhi vs Kerala; Services vs Jharkhand.
January 11, 2020: West Bengal vs Goa; Punjab vs Karnataka.
January 12, 2020: Meghalaya vs Jharkhand; Delhi vs Services.
January 13, 2020: Mizoram vs Karnataka; West Bengal vs Punjab.
January 14, 2020: Kerala vs Services; Meghalaya vs Delhi.
January 15, 2020: Goa vs Punjab; Mizoram vs West Bengal.
January 16, 2020: Jharkhand vs Delhi; Kerala vs Meghalaya.
January 17, 2020: Karnataka vs West Bengal; Goa vs Mizoram.
January 18, 2020: Services vs Meghalaya; Jharkhand vs Kerala.
January 19, 2020: Punjab vs Mizoram; Karnataka vs Goa.
January 21, 2020: Semifinals: Winner Group A vs Runners-up Group B; Winner Group B vs Runners-up Group A.
January 23, 2020: Final