The tiny north-eastern state of Mizoram and powerhouse Punjab entered the final of the 18th U21 National Football Championship for Dutta Ray Trophy held at at the PJN Stadium, Fatorda, Margaon.
Mizoram beat Haryana 3-1 in the first Semi Final match played yesterday (13th May). Mizoram led 1-0 at the half time and both the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the regulation time. Mizoram was clearly the better of the two sides and played an attacking game throughout.Mizoram boys had better ball control and dominance in the first half and unlucky not to increase in the first half itself . Haryana however restricted Mizoram and did not allow to consolidate their initial gain and fought back imediately in the second half and found the equalizer in the 49th minute through Roshan Singh .Mizoram went ahead once again in the 1st minute of the extra time through Zodinliana and pumped in one more goal seven minutes later through Lalrinfela to emerge victorious in the end.
Ahead of the final,s Mizoram’s impressive record at this years Under-21 Nationals reads 29 goals scored and only three conceded after six matches!
In the 2nd Semi Final match played today, Punjab beat West Bengal by a single goal (1-0). Both the teams were tied goalless at the half time. West Bengal had maximum possessions and domination in the barren first half. Bengal boys could have gone ahead in the first half but for Punjab custodian Pawan Kumar who foiled their attempts. The winning goal in the 65th minute in the second half through Maninder Singh. West Bengal stepped counter moves to equalize but Punjab defenders stood their ground.
So, Mizoram will meet Punjab in the Final of the 18th Dutta Ray Trophy on 16th May, 2009, Saturday.