Shillong, Jan 7: In a match befitting the final to an intense tournament, Niaw Wasa held their nerve to beat Tynrongmawsaw on penalties in the title match of the Meghalaya State League (MSL) in Jowai on Saturday.
The match was very evenly poised with chances for both sides but the full 90 minutes ended without anyone scoring and even extra time could not bring a goal for the top clubs who emerged from 19 participants drawn from across Meghalaya.
Penalties were thus the order of the day and Niaw Wasa came through 4-3 in front of their exuberant home fans, who took up positions from every possible vantage point at the Kiang Nangbah Stadium. The champions’ goalkeeper Aibor Suchiang was the star on the day after saving one penalty and scoring off the last for Niaw Wasa.
Tynrongmawsaw went into the title clash as the only unbeaten side (Niaw Wasa had lost one of their semifinal fixtures) but when it mattered the most they were held off by a club that proved to have the edge on the day. Still, the West Khasi Hills team can take great heart from making it to the final, the journey to which involved them getting past two top Shillong-based clubs, Malki and Langsning.
The runners-up took home a cheque of Rs 3 lakh, with Rs 5 lakh going to the winners of the highly successful pan-Meghalaya league that has been well-appreciated across the four venues – Ampati, Bhoirymbong, Jowai and Mairang.
Among the dignitaries present at the final were DP Wahlang, principal secretary to the government of Meghalaya and advisor and lifetime member of the Meghalaya Football Association and Matsiewdor War Nongbri, director of Sports and Youth Affairs as well as members of the MFA, who gave away the prizes.
(Photo of the victorious Niaw Wasa team contributed by the Meghalaya Football Association)