Nisha puts Haryana in semis; Manipur too enters semi & Jharkhand pay penalty
New Delhi, September 20: Football is a team game, but there are certain individuals who make it a solo affair as did captain Nisha Bagoria of Government Senior Secondary School, Haryana, with a brace for her team. Nisha single-handedly took the Haryana team into the semifinals of the 56th Subroto Cup Football Tournament when they beat a strong Myngken Higher Secondary School, Meghalaya, 2-1 at the Ambedkar Stadium here today.
Earlier, Hazari Bagh High School (Jharkhand) paid the penalty when the reliable midfielder Sandhya Kachhap missed her opportunity as 14 Battalion NCC won 7-7 (2-2) in the first quarterfinals.
The Bhiwani girls’ team, known for its gritty performance, yet again showed their prowess against the Meghalaya outfit. Nisha had a complete control over her deployment of forces and they responded brilliantly, defending as well as attacking. Yet, nothing came of in the first session.
On the other hand, Meghalaya girls were found wanting on several counts, including unable to convert some of the half-chances that came their way. It was Haryana who opened the account in the 43 rd minute when Nisha’s right footer brooked no challenge. Even as they were celebrating came the goal-bearing move three minutes later from Pynhun Shulet to dampen their spirits.
But the Haryana team, showing greater ball possession and control, struck in the 55th minute through Nisha to drive the final nail in Meghalaya’s coffin.
Penalty shootout calls for right frame of mind and tough mental attitude from both the rival strikers and their goalkeepers. In today’s battle for supremacy in the first quarterfinals, Manipur was a shade better, thanks to Sandhya Kachhap who missed Jharkhand’s second penalty shot. Sandhya sent the ball sailing over the crossbar and with that their semifinal entry.
For winners NCC, Thoibi Devi, W. Ranji Bala Devi, Preemita Devi, Bombem Devi and Jadabi Devi all converted, while Dularm Marandi, Shabnam Kujur, Asrita Toppo and Nandini Laguri hit the target with precision.
Forgetting the lone mistake, the Hazari Bagh girls played their heart out and were, in fact, leading 2-1 during the regulation period. Dular Marandi was the star performer for the Jharkhand team as she not only moved swiftly on the field but kept egging on her teammates for continuous feed.
Her teammates played percentage football and keep their Manipur rivals on tenterhooks all the time. So pressured were the Manipuris that Dular made most of a defence lapse in the box and shot home in the 20th minute for the lead. But eight minutes later, Jharkhand’s goal feel when A. Nongpok Leima got a superb pass from left and she made it count to level the score.
On resumption, the teams’ intention of safety-first approach was visible with none making any thrust to produce any goals. But Dular found a great opportunity in the 40 th minute when she received a long ball which she trapped and entered the box to place it beyond Manipur goalkeeper. But with 20 minutes to go on the clock, they should have pressed further the advantage. They did partially as it helped Manipur who through Thobi Devi found the target in the 47th minute.
After the equalizer, the teams played for time and when extra-time was enforced the story remain the same. Hardly a goal-bearing move emanated from either side, pushing the matter to penalty shootout.
Under-14 Boys 1st Semifinal: 2.00 p.m.; 1st Semifinal under 14 boys: Chawngfianga Middle School, Mizoram vs Jatragachi Pranabanand High School, West Bengal
2nd Semifinal under 14 boys - 3.30 Bijang Loubuk Junior High School, Manipur, vs Irtiglal High School, Afghanistan 2 3.30 p.m. (both at Ambedkar Stadium).