Demanding wins for Mizoram, Meghalaya 

Demanding wins for Mizoram, Meghalaya 

Narainpur (Chhattisgarh) : Mizoram moved to the top of Group F in the Swami Vivekananda U20 National Football Championship when they picked up their second consecutive win at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama ground on Tuesday.

While the hard-fought 3-2 win over Maharashtra took Mizoram to six points from two matches, Meghalaya’s win over Rajasthan by an identical margin later in the day opened up the possibilities of three teams ending up with six points each, on the concluding day of the group matches on Thursday.

Assam score big win over Tripura Both Meghalaya and Rajasthan now have three points apiece, and the lone spot in the quarterfinal from this group could only be decided after Mizoram meet Rajasthan and Meghalaya play Maharashtra on Thursday.

Contrary to their first match against Meghalaya, which they won by a big margin, Mizoram had to fight hard to win against Maharashtra.

The losing side came back to draw level twice before Mizoram clinched the issue with an 87th-minute goal. They now have six points from two matches. The half-time score was 1-0 in favour of Mizoram.

Mizoram took the lead in the 8th minute when Maharashtra goalkeeper Nihar Sameer Apte made a mess of things while trying to collect a free kick from the right.

He could only palm away the ball clumsily and Marcus Malsawmzuala headed in the rebounder. Maharashtra restored parity in the 55th minute, with all credit to Adiyta Kalloli on the right.

He took the ball, sped past the defence, and found the net with an angular shot. Mizoram had to wait till the 78th minute to take the lead again, something that lasted only a couple of minutes.

While substitute Emanuel Lalhruaizela made the most of a melee in front of the Maharashtra goal to lob the ball over the goalkeeper, Mohammad Jaffer Altaf hit back to make it 2-2 two minutes later.

It was an individual effort that saw him run down the right and beat Mizoram goalkeeper H Lalrinzuala with a measured grounder.

Maharashtra, however, could not save the day as Malsawmzuala Tlangte, another substitute for Mizoram, received the ball from Lalro Thlanga and then finished with a neat left-footer to bag full points for his team.

The second match of the day between Meghalaya and Rajasthan was almost an encore of the first; the only difference was that Rajasthan managed to erase a two-goal deficit in the second half before being done in by a late goal by Meghalaya.

Meghalaya, who led 2-0 at halftime, opened the scoring in the 28th minute through Richie Kharbani, who shot home from inside the box.

Iashanbok Buhphang made it 2-0 in the 44th minute with a deft shot from the top of the area.

Not to be discouraged, Rajasthan, who beat Maharashtra in their first group league match, gave a good account of themselves in the second half with two goals from Sameer Gurung and Aashish Sarkar in the 51st and 73rd minutes, respectively. 

But Meghalaya, desperate for full points, increased pressure and had the last laugh when Wilbeson Jaba found the target in the closing stages.