Shillong, Jan 5: H Elias Higher Secondary School celebrated on winning the final of the Junior Boys category in the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports 2019-20 National Football Finals in Navi Mumbai today, but it was heartbreak for Shillong College, who lost out in the title matches of the Senior Boys and College Boys categories, the latter in an incredibly seesaw performance.
Shillong College Higher Secondary Section went down to MSP HSS of Kozhikode 3-2, while the undergraduates lost 6-5 on penalties to Dr Bhupendra Nath Dutta Smriti Mahavidyalaya of Kolkata. The Bengal side took the game to penalties after coming back from 4-2 down to draw 4-4 in the last few minutes of the last match of the day.
H Elias came through 2-0 on penalties after full time finished 0-0 against Government Oriental High School of Kerala. An intense hour-long contest went straight to a tiebreaker after neither side could find a goal in open play. H Elias goalkeeper Wankit Lyngdoh Mawphlang blocked three of four spot kicks by the Kerala school (the other went wide of the mark) for a sensational stint in between the sticks, while Gladdy Kharbuli and Sangti Janai Shianglong converted to enable H Elias to lift the trophy.
Straight after that Shillong College HSS looked to defend their 2018-19 title but couldn’t get in front of the Kozhikode side. They went behind in the seventh minute but found an equaliser through Aibiang Mame Nongneng in the 14th. However, a dozen minutes later and MSP retook the lead and some of the fight seemed to go out of the Shillong boys until the start of the second half when they again showed some good aggression.
A foul on Banshemphang Kurbah in the box yielded a penalty, which was converted by Kitboklang Khyriem in the 59th minute to make it 2-2. A handful of minutes later, though, MSP once again got in front and held on for a 3-2 victory.
There was no such issues for the Shillong College undergraduates, who got off to an absolutely perfect start with Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi putting them into the lead 23 seconds after the start of the College Boys final against Dr Bhupendra Nath Dutta Smriti Mahavidyalaya of Kolkata.
The Kolkata side did equalise around a quarter of the way through the game, but Dameki Khongstia gave Shillong College the lead again after he scored off a Phrangki Buam through ball in the 35th minute. It took almost another 35 minutes before we saw another goal and it came about after DBNDSM were awarded a penalty, which was converted to make it 2-2.
However, the Shillong boys didn’t wait long before retaking the lead, with a Buam shot coming down off the crossbar still in play, which presented Teiban Khongkai a chance to head the ball into the back of the net in the 72nd minute, barely any time after he came on as a substitute.
Khongkai then turned provider with an expert cross in the 79th, which the unmarked Robert Khongjoh simply had to tap to make it 4-2 and really put the Kolkata side under pressure.
DBNDSM were able to respond, though, pulling a goal back in the 85th minute to give them a shot at taking the match to a penalty shootout if not outright victory in 90 minutes.
Wanbantei Lyngkhoi then made a fantastic save soon after off a good free-kick, but extraordinary scenes deep in stoppage time saw DBNDSM awarded a penalty, which sent the match into a shootout with both teams tied on 4-4 after 90 minutes.
Lyngkhoi was replaced by team mate Iengskhem Rympei for the nail-biting tiebreaker, which DBNDSM won 6-5 after eight spot kicks each.
(Reliance Foundation Youth Sports photo of H Elias HSS)