Mizoram takes its first-ever Santosh Trophy home

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Mizoram takes its first-ever Santosh Trophy home
Siliguri, March 10: Mizoram won the National Football Championship on their maiden appearance in the final.

The state wrote history by striking three goals against the Railways without reply at the Kanchenjunga Stadium here. Mizoram is now the second team from the North-East, after Manipur, to win the Santosh Trophy.

Mizoram captain Zico Zoremsanga and F Lalrinpuia scored the goals. The team's performance in the first half wasn't great but evetually it managed to take the lead, thanks to Zico, who scored five goals in the tournament.

Mizoram is now the second team from the NE to win Santosh Trophy


Lalrinpuia scored a goal in the first minute of added-on time.

Railways succeeded in piling on the pressure from the start and earned four corner-kicks to keep Mizoram players on tenterhooks, said a TOI report.

Mizoram were lucky that PC Riju's well-taken shot from top of the box went out after taking a deflection off a defender. A couple of minutes before the break, Railways were denied by the woodwork.

Y Raju Singh's cross from the right was brilliantly back-headed by S Rajesh, beating the Mizoram custodian but came back off the horizontal.

Susil Kisku's subsequent shot off the rebound deflected off a Mizoram defender's feet. A minute later, Mizoram forged into the lead against the run of play. F Lalrinpuia charged down the right flank before finding Zico with a neat pass just outside the box. The Mizoram skipper, who was completely unmarked, had acres of space to control the ball, turn and place it into the far corner of the net past rival custodian Ehtesham Ahmed.

Mizoram played with renewed vigour after the break and could have doubled their lead had Ahmed not managed to keep away Lalrinpuia's powerful left-footer and Lalnunmawia not bungled with the rebound from close. Zico made it 2-0 in the 61st minute, once again exposing the chink in Railways defence where they missed first-choice central defenders - Vimal Kumar and Rajiv Boro - who were suspended for the match.

Lalbiakhlua broke on a counter down the right and flicked the ball to Zico, catching the Railways backline napping.

The striker broke into the box, calmly rounded off Ahmed and placed it home to send Mizoram fans into ecstasy.

The final goal was scored by Lalrinpuia, who slammed home from close in added-on time.

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