Shillong, Feb 1: Meghalaya will meet fellow North East side Mizoram in the first semifinal of the Junior National Football Championship for the Dr BC Roy Trophy after both teams topped their respective groups here today.
Mizoram became the first team to qualify for the semis after blazing past Uttar Pradesh 5-0 at Third Ground this morning. In the afternoon Meghalaya defeated Sports Authority of India 2-0 to set up the last-four meeting.
Meghalaya were missing their final touches in the first half, but came into their own in the second. Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem (pictured left) scored twice (73′, 82′) to take his tally to five for the competition. The first came about after Gladdy Kharbuli chipped the ball neatly to Ryngkhlem, who finished it off with a header, while the second was the result of a gorgeous through ball that Ryngkhlem smashed past the SAI goalkeeper.
In the other Group C match Haryana came from two goals to one down to beat 10-man Odisha 3-2. There was an own goal for each team as well as a penalty each (converted by Akash Dey for Odisha and Vishal Sing for Haryana) before Monu scored the winner in the 89th minute. Although tied on seven points each, Meghalaya finished on top thanks to a healthier goal difference (+8 to +3).
In Group A Lalrintluanga scored a hat-trick (29′, 63′, 82′) for Mizoram, while Lalpekhlua Jongte (32′) and Gratus Lalneihliana (60′) completed the rout over UP. The other Goup A match saw Goa move to second place after pipping Delhi 1-0, but that would be scant consolation for them as they will join Delhi and UP in heading home early. Pratik Naik scored the lone goal in the 37th minute.
Group B (9:30AM) – Punjab vs Jharkhand (Third Ground); Kerala vs Manipur (JN Stadium)
Group D (2PM) – West Bengal vs Karnataka (Third Ground); Jammu & Kashmir vs Chhattisgarh (JN Stadium)
(Meghalaya Football Association photo. Wadajied Kynsai Ryngkhlem (left) celebrates scoring his second goal with team mate Tremiki Lamurong)