Kohima, January 24: Arunachal Pradesh not only earned their first full points but captured the semi-final berth of the 9th North East Dr T Ao Trophy being hosted by Nagaland at Indira Gandhi Stadium here.
Playing a totally lopsided last league round match against Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh won by 16 goals to nil.
Vice captain of Arunachal Avinash Kharel started the rain of goals in the 8th minute and went on to score four more goals in the 35th, 39th, 79th and 88th minute.
He was supported by Charu Lallum hat-trick scored in the 10th, 24th and 43rd minute and another hat-trick from Tagru James scored in the 86th, 89th and 90th minutes while Tape Hakhe scored two goals in the 56th and 67th minutes.
Puji Noha, Torah Dolu and Dorjee Sherpa also netted a goal each for the team in the 52nd, 83rd and 85th minutes respectively.
Winning the match with a huge goal difference, Arunchal earned 3 points and coupled with earlier one point draw against Manipur, they are in second position with 2 goal difference confirming their place in the semi-finals from Group A.
In a close shave second match of the day, host Nagaland defeated six time champions Manipur 3-2.
Nagaland captain Khwetelhi Thopi opened the score in the 8th minute but five minutes before the half-time Lalminlian Vaiphei found the much needed equalizer for Manipur.
Eight minutes into the second half, Rhitsho Mero, the highest scorer of the tourney so far, added his seventh goal, and second for the team.
Moving into the four minutes additional time, skipper Thopi netted the third goal while Luginthang Kipgen (9) of Manipur netted second goal in the last minute.
Losing today’s match, the defending champs Manipur are out of the tourney for the first time in the history of North East Dr T Ao tournament.
Free bus service
Meanwhile the department of Youth Resources & Sports will provide free bus service from January 25 to 28 to ease transportation with the following timing from High School Junction to IG Stadium – 1 pm onwards, and departure from IG stadium – 6:30 pm onwards.
(Page News Service)
Assam vs Meghalaya at 2 pm
Sikkim vs Mizoram at 4:30 pm