Shillong, Nov 20: Meghalaya came from 2-1 down to defeat Kerala 4-2 in a fantastic comeback performance in their opening match of the Sub-Junior National Football Championship final round in Kalyani, West Bengal, today.
Teibok Nongrum (4′), Colinsalmon Lyngdoh (52′), Jony Bakordor Nongkhlaw (80′) and Wallambok Shangpliang (84′) scored for Meghalaya in what was a total team effort.
It was Meghalaya who took an early lead in the Group A match when a Nongrum free-kick on the left bounced in front of the Kerala goalkeeper and went into the net. The keeper might have been unsighted as Lyngdoh had tried to get to the ball as well.
However, Kerala came back with two goals in the first half to go into the break leading 2-1.
The Meghalaya players would have received a good speaking to between halves by coach Jefferey Warlarpih and they came out the more aggressive side in the second 45 minutes.
Meghalaya scored early again in the 52nd minute and the opening for that goal came about after a wonderful through ball by Baniatyllilang Mawkhiew. Lyngdoh’s resulting shot came off the crossbar, bouncing down for Mawkhiew but his shot was blocked by the Kerala custodian into the path of Lyngdoh, who then got the equaliser at this second attempt with a header.
Meghalaya continued to pile on the pressure and were denied by the woodwork once more.
However, an unmarked Nongkhlaw was able to put Meghalaya back into the lead with 10 minutes left on the clock after a fantastic cut back by Samchaphrang Lato deep on the left close to the touch line.
Shangpliang then drilled home a fourth goal, with an assist by Samlang Rympei, to further extend Meghalaya’s lead and they held on for a 4-2 finish.
Meghalaya will next play against Goa on 24th November.
(Photo contributed by the Meghalaya Football Association)