Shillong, June 21: Mizoram and Manipur will meet in the boys’ final of the Assam Rifles APF Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament on Saturday after both recorded victories in the semifinal round at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Mizoram had a tough fight against Meghalaya, but ultimately prevailed 1-0. Manipur, on the other hand, had an easier outing, defeating Tripura 4-0.
In the first match, much of which was played on a sodden pitch in heavy rain, Mizoram gotthe lone breakthrough in the 20th minute through Laldinpuia.
Both goalkeepers, Lajied Khyriem for the hosts and Lalneihsanga for Mizoram, had gooddays in office, as they were put to the test throughout the match.
Despite some frantic defence at times, Mizoram were able to hold off Meghalaya’s attackers and secure the victory. In the second match, Manipur got the lead in the 11 th minute after the players broke forward on the left and a cross was tapped easily into the net by Md Fayauddin.
The No. 17doubled the lead seven minutes later after a foul on the edge of the box gave him a free-kick, which he aimed on target. Although the Tripura goalkeeper got behind the shot, the ball burst through his hands and crossed the line.
Manipur looked content to just pass the ball around at the start of the second half, but their defence was a little casual at times, which gave the hungry Tripura players a few look-ins, but ultimately a couple of their attempts were shut out by goalie Ph Kishan Singh.
Th Hemba Singh then added another goal in the 51st minute after heading in a cross from the left and the toll of being three goals down appeared to tell on Tripura, whose defence broke down slightly, which allowed K Omesh Singh to slot in easily from close range.
The girls’ semifinals will be decided tomorrow. In the first match, the toppers from Pool A – Manipur – will go up against second-placed team from Pool B Mizoram at 1:00pm, while Pool B winners Meghalaya will face Pool A runners-up Nagaland at 3:30pm.