Shillong, Feb 3: Defending champions Mizoram reached the final of the Hero Junior National Football Championship for the Dr BC Roy Trophy by edging hosts Meghalaya 1-0 in a tense semifinal at the JN Stadium here today.
K Lalchhuansanga headed in a ball from the left to beat Meghalaya goalkeeper Wanteiland Malngiang in the 87th minute. This was the only goal that Meghalaya conceded in four games, but it was enough to end their hopes of lifting the trophy.
Mizoram started stronger, but the first half was largely even as both sides looked to get the measure of the other. Mizoram looked particularly dangerous in set-pieces but after the half time break it was Meghalaya that looked more likely to score, with Sangti Janai Shianglong hitting the side early on a couple of minutes into the second session.
The boys in red, however, held their own and Lalchhuansanga’s glorious header sent the ball sailing into the back of the net just when it looked likely that the game would be taken to extra time.
A desperate few minutes did not allow Meghalaya any way back and Mizoram got to celebrate in front of a few of their passionate fans who came down to the ground to support them.
Mizoram will face either Punjab or West Bengal in Thursday’s final. Punjab, who had won all three of their group matches, will take on West Bengal, who arguably are the weakest of the four semifinalists, in the second semi at 1PM tomorrow.
Semifinal 2 – Punjab vs West Bengal, 1PM, JN Stadium
(Meghalaya Football Association photo)