Shillong, Nov 28: Dawanchwa Carlos Challam (pictured celebrating his third goal) scored a hat-trick as Meghalaya mauled Assam 6-2 in their opening match of the zonal round of the men’s National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy at the JN Stadium here today.

The other scorers for Meghalaya in the Group A were Maxderidoff Wahlang and captain Hardycliff Nongbri, with an own goal adding to their tally. Assam, meanwhile, scored through their No. 10, Milan Basumatary.

Meghalaya dominated proceedings throughout, with Assam having little opportunity to get forward. For all the pressure they were under, Assam managed to withstand the Meghalaya attacks quite well in the first half, though they wilted in the second.

Challam got things going in the 15th minute after Atlanson Kharmaw neatly threaded the ball for the No. 15 to slot in at the far corner.

The 1-0 lead only lasted around 12 minutes, however, as Assam found the equaliser through the first of Basumatary’s goals. A ball forward by Assam saw Meghalaya goalkeeper Padam Chettri lose his footing and, thus, the ball, allowing Assam to level the game.

Just three minutes later, though, and the hosts had the lead again after an Assam player put the ball into his own net off a Meghalaya cross.

The second half had another five goals, with Challam converting an opportunity in the 50th minute after the ball popped up for him invitingly following a bit of goal mouth frenzy in which Assam could not clear the ball properly.

Nine minutes later, Nongbri turned in a lovely free-kick for Challam to head in his hat-trick goal. Then, in the 78th, Wahlang scored off a rebound and six minutes after that Nongbri made it 6-1 when he chipped the ball over the opposition goalkeeper who was off his line.

It looked like Meghalaya would walk to victory by a five-goal margin but just into stoppage time a foul was committed in the box and Basumatary converted the penalty.

Assam will next face Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday. Kick-off will be at 2PM.

(TSR photo)

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