Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mizoram confirm quarterfinal spot Manipur top Group B

Santosh Trophy

Itanagar, March 2: Mizoram confirmed their spot in the quarterfinals of the Santosh Trophy with a comprehensive 4-0 win against Railways at the Golden Jubilee Stadium here on Saturday.
While the four teams to make it to the knockout stages from Group A were already confirmed on Friday, three of the Group B sides – Manipur, Delhi, and Railways – started on Saturday, having already qualified.
Mizoram, Maharashtra, and Karnataka were fighting it out for one quarterfinal spot, and it was advantage Mizoram.
Services will face Railways in the first quarterfinal on March 4 followed by the second quarterfinal between Goa and Delhi on the same day. On March 5, Manipur will take on Assam, while Mizoram will play Kerala.
The side from the northeastern reaches of India had a simple equation in front of them. If they beat Railways, they would book their quarterfinal spot; anything else, and they would have to depend on other results.
Lalthankima (17th min) set the tone for Mizoram early on, as he ran on to a through ball behind the Railways defense and slotted it past the keeper.
Mizoram were not content with just a goal lead, and constantly kept looking for more opportunities to score.
However, Railways came back hard in the second half, looking for the equaliser. They had already qualified, but a few points in this game would improve their standing in the group, which could give them a more favourable tie in the quarterfinals.
However, it was Railways’ willingness to commit more men forward that was finally their undoing.
Mizoram substitute Vanlalbiaa Chhangte doubled the lead in the 81st minute, a similar strike to that of Lalthankima.
Abhishek Aich’s 87th-minute own goal, which came as a result of the Railways defender attempting to clear a Malsawmtluanga cross, only made matters worse, before Mizoram substitute Malsawmfela scored a fourth from a move that he himself had initiated outside the box.
In the second match of the day, both Manipur and Delhi were assured of a quarterfinal spot before their match kicked off, but the top spot in the group was still up for grabs.
A Delhi win would sent them to the top, while a draw would be enough for Manipur. However, Manipur prevailed 2-1 at the Golden Jubilee Stadium to top the group.
Manipur captain Philam Sanathoi Meetei drew first blood in the seventh minute, before Rishabh Dobriyal (41′) equalized for Delhi a little ahead of half time.
Leimajam Sangkar Singh (66’) put the top spot in the group beyond all doubts, when he slotted home a cut-back from Samson, to hand his side the lead. (PTI)
Quarterfinal Lineup:
March 4: Services vs Railways, 2.30 pm IST; Goa vs Delhi, 7 pm IST
March 5: Manipur vs Assam, 2.30 pm IST; Mizoram vs Kerala, 7 pm IST.