Shillong, June 17: Meghalaya bounced back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw in their girls’ Pool B game against Tripura on the fourth day of the Assam Rifles CAPF Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
The other match of the day saw Nagaland’s girls whitewash Arunachal Pradesh 4-0 in Pool A.
The heavens opened around the start time of the 1:00pm match, but that did not stop Tripura’s Hena Debbarma and Anita Tancotla putting their side into a commanding position with goals in the eighth and 24th minutes respectively.
Tripura looked to continue their momentum in the second half, but after weathering some early attacking play, the rest of the match belonged to Meghalaya, who scored through their talismanic striker Pynhun Shulet.
An injury to her leg meant that Shulet did not look completely comfortable on the pitch, but the No. 7 soldiered on and delivered Meghalaya’s first goal in the 38th minute.
With the ball chipped into the box, Shulet managed to get through a phalanx of defenders and nudged the ball towards goal before the advancing goalkeeper could get to it.
Her second saw her receive a ball on the right and beat her markers before smashing the ball past the diving keeper four minutes later. Although the momentum had by now swung firmly Meghalaya’s way, Tripura did well to hold off further attacks and secure at least a point from the game.
The rain had cleared by the second match, where Nagaland rode on the back of a brace by Neichutuo-u (7th, 8th minutes), H Shangki Konyak (33rd) and Mhasikhonuo Paunuo (52nd).
Arunachal’s defence was a little slow at the start of the fixture and in the seventh minute Neichutuo-u got the opener after an attempt deflected off the goalkeeper and allowed the No. 8 an easy tap-in. She doubled the lead a minute later, but Nagaland then had to wait until early in the second half before Konyak placed a free-kick perfectly into the top corner of the net.
The fourth and final goal came off some frantic action in the Arunachal box. At least three shots were blocked by the custodian and defenders before Paunuo finally got the ball across the goal line.
Arunachal did show tremendous fight even with the scoreline heavily against them, but could not convert their chances. With two losses in as many games, Arunachal are out of the competition. Sunday will be a rest day in the Assam Rifles CAPF Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament, but the action returns on Monday when Tripura boys take on Arunachal at 1:00pm in Pool A, followed by Manipur boys against Nagaland at 3:30pm in Pool B.