New Delhi, September 15: Government Chawngfianga Middle School from Mizoram defeated BS+2 High School from Jharkhand 3-1 in the Sub-Junior (Under-14) to enter the semifinals of the 56th Subroto Cup Football Tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here today.
Earlier in the day, West Bengal’s Jatragachi Pranabananda High School (Ghuni) beat the Sports Authority of India’s North Eastern Regional Centre (Assam) 2-0 in the first quarterfinal match.
Their semifinal match is slated on September 21and until then the two teams will have a lot to watch and observe from the rest of the matches.
Coming to the second semifinals first, the Mizoram boys were too good on the day. Yet one cannot take the credit away from the Simdega schoolboys who played their heart out and still ended up on the losing side.
The Mizoram boys entry into the semifinal was never in doubt from Day One when they played percentage football with neat passing with quick-foot movement on the field which created more avenues. Like in the previous outings, Moses Lalrinzuala was the star player for the team from Saidan as he struck. In fact, all their goals as well as that of Jharkhand’s came in the second half only.
In fact, BS+ High School opened the account in the 26th minute of the match when Ranjan sent the ball beyond Mizoram goalkeeper Lallawmkima. But after that the entire action was in the other half as Hriata Jongie restored parity with a goal three minutes later, before Moses completing the task with two successive goals in a span of nine minutes as he scored in the 35th and 46th minutes.
As for the first match, West Bengal inflicted a calculated assault against SAI who, despite a good defence, failed to thwart their rivals from making inroads. Even with depleted bench strength—they played with just 12 players—West Bengal looked much stronger. Three of their good players had to be left behind owing to injuries before the tournament and that limited the squad from going all out.
Yet, their perseverance and clever passes and finally making those chances count made all the difference. Moreover, they had a very scheming captain in Deepankar Ghosh, who hails from a poor family—his father a daily labourer and mother a domestic help. Mid-fielder Deepankar’s passion for football and his determination in the quarterfinal today helped his squad hunt for goals.
West Bengal’s first goal came when Subendu Ghosh received the ball from his teammate in the 16th minute. He side-stepped a couple of SAI defenders and sent the ball past the goalkeeper. With a 1-0 lead they went for the break and soon after resumption in the second session, Imran Hassan struck to seal the fate of SAI.
Sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead, West Bengal adopted the safety procedure and, to a large extent, succeeded in keeping their citadel from falling even as the Assam players tried really hard. A few chances could have been converted into account but when a side is down and out, it is always difficult to make a strong come back. And that was really the problem with the SAI team.
West Bengal manager Sh. AKA Kunji was all praise for his captain Deepankar. “He has a bright future and he had represented the national under-14 squad before coming for the Subroto Cup tournament here. The experience he gained there has stood him and the team in good stead. Today’s win has given us confidence but we won’t be complacent in our next outings,” said the manager.
Meanwhile, it is time for foreign outfits to jump into fray for the first time in this year’s edition. The teams of Bangladesh and Afghanistan, clubbed in the same pool ‘H’, will show their prowess, though against different teams.
Wednesday’s fixtures Boys Under 14: Chandigarh vs Sainik School 6.30 a.m., Daman & Diu vs Goa 7.30 a.m., Bangladesh vs Sikkim 3.30 p.m., Delhi vs Afghanistan 4.30 p.m. (All matches at Ambedkar Stadium).
Wednesday’s fixtures Girls Under 17: Meghalaya vs Kerala at 8.30 am, Mizoram vs. Tamilnadu at 2 noon.