Shillong, Jan 1: Meghalaya qualified for the final round of the 76th Men’s National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy after securing a 2-2 draw with hosts Odisha in their final Group 5 match in Bhubaneswar today.

Only the six group toppers along with three best second-placed teams will qualify for the final round.

Prior to this match, Meghalaya were leading the group but had to avoid defeat to second-placed Odisha if they wanted to hold onto that position.

The match was goalless until first half stoppage time when two goals were scored, the first by Meghalaya’s Allen Lyngdoh Nongbri (45’+1) and the second by Odisha’s Prabin Tigga (45’+3).

Before the hour mark, Chandra Muduli (59′) put Odisha into the lead. Meghalaya thus needed at least one more goal to go through as group toppers and it came right towards the end of the match thanks to Everbrightson Mylliempdah, who scored in the second minute of stoppage time.

Undefeated Meghalaya netted 11 points from five matches. They started with a draw against eventual third-placed team Sikkim and then three wins over Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Pondicherry before today’s draw.

It is not yet known which second-placed teams will qualify for the final round as some groups are yet to conclude and others haven’t even started yet.

(Meghalaya Football Association photo)

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