Meghalaya made history by entering the semifinal of the Santosh Trophy National Football Championship for the first time in Bhubaneswar on Monday. And it made it in fine fashion.
Down by a goal shortly after the half-hour mark in its last Group ‘B’ match, Meghalaya bounced back and defeated West Bengal 2-1 with its goals coming in a four-minute spell late in the first half through Allen Camper Lyngdoh and Nikelson Bina. With that, Meghalaya finished behind group topper Services and made the last-four stage.
“There is a good mix of boys who have experience playing not just Santosh Trophy but also for clubs outside the state,” said Meghalaya’s head coach Khlain Syiemlieh.
“They have a lot of hunger and desire and I’m very happy for them. They deserve it.”
Action shifts to Riyadh
The league phase ended on Monday and the action will now shift to Riyadh’s King Fahd Stadium for the semifinals in the first week of March. Meghalaya will face Group ‘A’ topper Punjab while Services will meet Group ‘A’ runner-up Karnataka.
Services blanked Railways 4-0 with Oinam Gautam Singh and Adersh Mattumal scoring two goals each while Delhi, riding on Ajay Singh’s brace, blanked Manipur 2-0 in other Group ‘B’ matches.
The results (Group B): Meghalaya 2 (Allen Camper Lyngdoh 44, Nikelson Bina 45+3) bt West Bengal 1 (Sougata Hansda 36).
Services 4 (Oinam Gautam Singh 32 & 49, Adersh Mattumal 34 & 65) bt Railways 0.
Delhi 2 (Ajay Singh 18 & 45+1) bt Manipur 0.
Final placings (Group B): 1. Services (13 pts), 2. Meghalaya (10), 3. Railways (7), Manipur (6), Delhi (5), West Bengal (1).