Shillong, Dec 1: Meghalaya reached the final of the Sub-Junior National Football Championship after defeating Bengal 3-1 in Kalyani, West Bengal, on Sunday.
In what was their biggest test of the final round, Meghalaya found the back of the net through Samlang Rympei (16′, 90’+2) and Baniatyllilang Mawkhiew (64′) to win the first semifinal. They will meet Arunachal Pradesh in the final on Tuesday. Arunachal beat Kerala 2-0 in the second semifinal.
Meghalaya were awarded a penalty as early as the seventh minute but Samchaphrang Lato’s spot kick was denied by the Bengal goalkeeper with a dive.
Bengal committed a second foul in the box only a few minutes later and Rympei was able to convert the penalty this time around to put Meghalaya into the lead in the 16th minute.
Meghalaya led 1-0 at half time, but the hosts were able to equalise in the 52nd minute with a header.
Meghalaya twice hit the crossbar in the few minutes on either side of half time, but there was no denying Mawkhiew in the 64th when he headed in a cross off a quickly taken corner into the far part of the net to restore his team’s lead.
Meghalaya had a couple of good chances, though one went slightly wide and one was denied by the keeper and Berith Nongbri, the Meghalaya custodian, made a couple of good saves late in the game to keep his side in front.
The match then all but ended when Rympei curled in a cross from the left. A Bengal defender failed to clear the ball and it spun off the pitch and went into the net for an unlikely goal. This was Rympei’s fifth goal of the final round and he is Meghalaya’s top scorer.