Norbet’s extra-time heroics get Mizoram Subroto trophy
New Delhi, September 24: A Norbert Lalfakawma left-footer in the seventh minute of the extra-time not only revived the sagging morale of Government Chawngfiang Middle School, Mizoram, but also helped their team lift the trophy in the Sub-Junior (Under-14) final of the 56 th Subroto Cup International Football Tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here today.
Thus the Mizoram outfit defeated Esteqalal School from Afghanistan 3-2 after the teams have been locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time. The win was worth Rs, 2.5 lakh and the runners-up team got Rs. 1.25 lakh and a trophy. Air Marshal BBP Sinha presented trophy to the winners while the Mizoram chief minister Lalthawala presented the cheque to them.
If the first half of the match belonged to the northeastern side, the Afghan boys made the second half theirs, thanks to Rasheed’s perseverance and his second goal just a few minutes from time. Earlier, he had slotted in a goal to reduce the margin after Chunnfa Hamar had put the Mizoram School in lead.
The Mizo boys, playing percentage football and keeping a good control over ball possession, went ahead as early as in the eighth minute when R. Lalriupuia sent in a long cross from near the centre line. With several defenders surrounding, Hmar used his head to a greater effect to send the ball in to the left goalkeeper Sharif.
After the first goal, the team from Imphal tried its best to score another, including through a couple of corners, but could not do so. Afghanistan boys, on the other hand, tried their bit to make inroads into the rival goal area, but were competently kept at bay by the Mizoram defenders.
After the break, Mizoram struck four minutes into play when Hmar received a loose aerial ball which he trapped nicely and sidestepped a couple of Afghan defenders to score.
Stung by this comfortable lead, the Afghans did what they normally do. In the second half, they were a transformed a lot and played excellent football to effectively deal with their opponent’s marking processes.
Their Plan B worked so well that Rashid hit the target midway through the second session. All the while, the Mizoram boys went wayward, losing focus and it paved the way for the equalizer. With just a couple of minutes to go, a loose ball from Hroata Jonete reached Rashed but Nobert and Remsangpuia made the cardinal blunder of checking the Afghan inside the box. Referee Corporal S. Arun showed the spot. The resultant penalty was converted by Rasheed without a fuss as Mizoram goalkeeper R. Malsawmkima was a wee bit early in his reaction as the ball rolled in to the chagrin of Mizoram defenders.
The first few minutes of extra time saw the Afghan boys keep the intensity and momentum with them as they made quite a few forays. But one counter-attack from Mizoram was good enough for Norbet to strike the winner, just close to the first half of extra-time. After change of end, they competently kept the Afghans from any harm’s way.
Earlier, Delhi Dynamos player-manager Roberto Carlos along with his team mates was present to cheer the two teams.
The Subroto Education Society offered 25 promising players in the Under-14 section Rs. 15,000 each, a one-time scholarship.
There were several awards and rewards in different categories for the best efforts by the sub-junior boys during the tournament. (List enclosed).