Shillong, Apr 22: Meghalaya’s boys left it all on the pitch as they went down 4-3 to former champions West Bengal in the National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy at the Kottappadi Football Stadium in Kerala today.
On the first three occasions that Bengal held the lead Meghalaya equalised each time but when it came to the fourth time it was one too many for Meghalaya who could not find a way back.
WB grabbed the lead in the 23rd minute of the Group A match with a volley but Sangti Janai Shianglong capitalised on a defensive lapse to equalise for Meghalaya in the 40th.
However, the boys slipped behind again by half time with a foul in the box giving Bengal a penalty, which they converted to lead 2-1 at the break.
Shano Tariang did not have to wait long after the restart to get the first of his two goals today, with another mistake in defence allowing the substitute to score. That was in the 46th minute but Bengal retook the lead just three minutes later with a shot that hit the bar and went over the goal line.
A tap-in from Tariang made it 3-3 in the 65th minute but WB went back in front for the fourth time four minutes later.
A last bit of drama saw Meghalaya denied a penalty for a handball in the box. They were awarded one in the 85th minute, however, but captain Hardy Cliff Nongbri then had a penalty and the resulting rebound blocked by the Bengal goalkeeper, a heartbreaking end to a grueling match in the heat.
With four points from three hard-fought games, Meghalaya will next take on Punjab on Sunday at 8PM in their last group match. They will need a win to give them a chance to finish in the top two and qualify for the next stage.