Shillong, Mar 11: Lawmali became the first team to reach the semifinals of the 4th Assam Rifles Invitation Football Tournament after they drubbed 2016 runners-up Lawsohtun 6-1 in their quarterfinal fixture at the Assam Rifles football ground in Laitkor today.
In the morning match Mawpat edged Mawkhar 4-3 on penalties after regulation time ended all square at 1-1. This was the last round of 16 match left to be played.
The first quarterfinal followed in the afternoon and saw Lawmali take a two-goal lead early in the game courtesy Will Marbaniang, who scored in the third and sixth minutes.
Lawsohtun regrouped, however, and made a stronger show, eventually pulling a goal back in the 50th minute thanks to a beautiful curling free-kick by Ksan Khongmalai that went high past the outstretched arm of Lawmali goalkeeper Eric Nongkhlaw.
That seemed to suggest that the next 40 minutes were going to be very close, but Lawmali dispensed with that idea by scoring four goals, which was no easy feat given the strength of the Lawsohtun team.
An error in defence allowed Lawmali to restore their two-goal advantage in the 63rd minute, with Damehun Syih going one-on-one with Lawsohtun keeper Aebor Nongtdu and scoring.
It went to 4-1 just four minutes later when Syih fed a ball forward to Marbaniang who then passed it to an open Shanbor Jyrwa, who fired it past Nongtdu.
In the 79th minute Jyrwa then scored from the penalty spot after a foul on Syih in the box to make it 5-1 and the final nail in the coffin arrived in the 82nd minute.
The Lawsohtun defence was pressing high by this point and Syih, who is lightning quick, beat his markers, went one-on-one with Nongtdu again and won the battle once again.
The next two quarterfinals will be held tomorrow between Seven Brothers and defending champions Smit at 10:30AM followed by Assam Rifles versus Mawpdang at 1:30PM. Both games will be played at the Assam Rifles football ground in Laitkor.
(Photo contributed by Assam Rifles. Damehun Syih of Lawmali celebrates scoring his first goal)