Shillong, Mar 9: Mawpdang and Nongkrem were victors in two close round of 16 matches of the 4th Assam Rifles Invitational Football Tournament at the Assam Rifles football ground in Laitkor today.
Both victors were 3-2 winners.
The morning match saw a first minute goal via Kenny Marbaniang for Mawpdang, but Madanryting fought back with an equaliser in the 20th minute from Sam Mynsong. In what proved to be a highly-entertaining first half, Pyntip Syiem gave the lead back to Mawpdang five minutes later. However, Sondy Kharkongor made sure than Madanryting remained in contention with a 33rd minute goal. Just one goal came in the second half, but it gave Mawpdang victory and a place in the quarterfinal round.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon fixture, Nongkrem were involved in a seesaw battle with Nongthymmai.
Hehkamai Sari put Nongkrem into the lead in the 25th minute and his side held on to the one-goal lead until half time. Banteinam Kurbah then doubled the advantage with a 47th minute strike, but Iarbok Kshiar found the back of the net just three minutes later for Nongthymmai.
A foul in the box then gave Nongkrem a penalty, which Alem Khongwir converted on the hour mark, but Nongthymmai did not give up and pulled a goal back in the 83rd. It came about after a corner found its way to the diminutive Albinus Tangsong who blasted the ball into the net from the right.
Soon after Johny Manbha almost took the match into penalties but his long-range shot, after spotting the Nongkrem goalkeeper off his line, was denied after crashing into the upright.
The tournament will take a break tomorrow, but will return on Monday. Mawpat will take on Mawkhar at 10:30AM in the final round of 16 match, while Lawmali will clash with Lawsohtun in the first of the quarterfinals at 1:30PM. Both matches will take place at the Assam Rifles football ground in Laitkor.
(Assam Rifles photo. Nongkrem are in red/white shirts, Nongthymmai in white)