Mizoram down TN to enter final

Mizoram rode on both grit and luck to edge past Tamil Nadu 3-1 in extra time and book their maiden berth in the final of the 68th National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy here on Friday.

Some shoddy goalkeeping by Tamil Nadu custodian A Arun Pradeep coupled with a spirited second half display helped Mizoram rallied to get the better of Tamil Nadu in the first semifinals at the Kanchenjunga Stadium here.

Two-time finalists Tamil Nadu took the lead right at the stroke of half-time through A Reagan (46th). 

But a rejuvenated Mizoram, aided by a goalkeeping gaffe, clawed back courtesy a long range strike from substitute David Lalrinmuana (62nd) to take the match to extra time.

Two opportunistic strikes from Zico Zoremsanga (94th) and substitute F Lalrinpuia (119th) sealed the match in Mizoram’s favour.

Friday’s win was the fifth of the competition for Mizoram and eighth if the qualifying round matches are taken into consideration. 

A delighted Mizoram coach HV Vanlalthlanga said: “It is a great moment for Mizoram. This is the first time we are going to play in the final and I feel the boys deserved it for their good showing throughout the tournament.”

“Tamil Nadu did very well to contain us in the first half. They played good football. But I am glad the boys came back strongly after the break,” he said after the match. 

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