Oct 16: Ten men Lucknow outfit emerge champs while facing adversities
The ten boys team of SAI, Lucknow showed exemplary character in the adverse situations as they rallied from one goal deficit to beat Green Wood Higher Secondary School, Dimapur 1-0 via sudden death in the topsy-turvy final to win the Subroto Cup (U-14) football tournament played at the Dr Ambedkar stadium here on Monday.
The Lucknow outfit had to face adversities throughout the tournament by playing with only ten players, after their six members of the squad were ruled out due to over-age. In addition some of its players were not even fit to play the final due to injuries.
Both the teams were locked 1-1 in full time and scores were levelled 3-3 after the application of tie-breaker rule.
The Nagaland players started the proceedings on attacking note and gave away hardly an inch to opponents to settle things down. They mounted pressure on the SAI team with back-to-back attacks to surge ahead.
Their efforts paid off as early in the 13 th minute of the game when opportunistic Luminlal of Nagaland shot ahead his team by unleashing a powerful left-footer on a rebound, which touched the post on its way to the net.
SAI goalkeeper Apu Dutta had conceded a goal in regulation time for the first time in the tournament. He was remarkable under the bars and on many occasions defied the attacks of Nagaland strikers.
The first half was totally dominated by the Nagaland boys with the ball possession was largely with them. On the other hand SAI boys were more depending on counter attacks to settle their scores, as they already had one player short. Green Wood School, Nagaland was leading 1-0 at the stroke of lemon-break.
On changing the ends, Lucknow boys pressed hard to stage a comeback in the match and the turning point of the match came in the 53rd minute when Henry Marboh scored the equaliser with a precision free-kick from 30 yards. The eye-catching right-footer foxed the rival goalkeeper Bokato in the air beating him all ends up.
From thereon the ultimate strategy of the Lucknow team was to take the match to penalty shoot-out and they succeeded in their aim quite well. The Nagaland boys had to blame themselves for ending up as runners-up, as they had wasted as many as five easy sitters due to poor finishing of their strikers.
SAI team got what they wanted and sailed towards victory after Dutta came up with a fine save to put his team ahead 2-1. Nagland’s Neikupre shot hit the bar to make it 3-1 in Lucknow’s team favour. The strikes from Mathura Beck and Readytone Nongbri found the net, but the wayward strikes by Henry and Abirolang K Mujat brought the Nagaland outfit back in the match and the two teams were again locked at 3-3 at the end of tie- breaker, stretching the keen tussle to sudden death.
The luck was surely riding on the Lucknow side, as Tovi hit the bar for Nagaland team and SAI’s Suman Bar made no mistake to seal a memorable win for his team. The Lucknow boys got richer by Rs. 50,000 while runners-up Nagaland team got a purse of Rs. 30,000.
The Chief Guest Air Marshall J N Burma gave away the prizes to the winners and runners-up team. The winning players got suitcases as individual awards while the members of losing finalists received a wrist watch each.
Readytone Nongbri was declared the best player of the tournament and rewarded with a cash prize of Rs. 5000.
The final of the junior boys (U-17) will be played on Tuesday at the Dr Ambedkar Stadium between Sagarbhanga High School, Durgapur and NCC (NER).
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