Margao: Goa beat Kerala 1-0 to progress to the final round of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship here on Tuesday.
Trijoy Dias netted the winner in the 57th minute in front of the home fans.
Goa topped Group A with 10 points from four matches, while Kerala finished second with nine points. Kerala's chances of advancing to the next stage depend on other group results.
A draw would have taken Kerala to the final phase to be held in Arunachal Pradesh, while Goa needed a win to seal their spot.
Kerala had beaten Gujarat (3-0), Jammu and Kashmir (6-1) and Chhattisgarh (3-0) in their earlier games.
Defending champions Karnataka, runners-up Meghalaya and hosts Arunachal Pradesh will join the nine qualifiers in the final stage.
The 12 teams will be divided into two groups six teams each. The top two will advance to the semifinals.
Kerala failed to qualify for the semifinals last season.