Mizoram 6 (Mawihmingthanga – 24th, 84th, 90th Vanlalremkima – 45+5, 90+1, Vanlabiaa Chhangte – 51st) beat Assam 1 (Jwngbla Bhahma – 17th)
At halftime, Mizoram Coach L.Jonathana’s tea tasted better than his Northeastern counterpart Karno Mushahary. At full time, Northeast’s most-wanted beverage treaded the same path.
But a mistake by Assam custodian Jikil Basumatary, drawing the dreaded red from the referee’s pocket at the stroke of halftime turned the game on its head. Mizoram overawed 10-man Assam 6-1 in a lopsided Northeastern Derby to clinch their maiden Junior Nationals Trophy.
While it was Assam’s Jwngbla Bhahma who drew first blood, Mawihmingthanga (hattrick), Vanlalremkima (brace) and Vanlabiaa Chhangte scored either side of halftime to crown Mizoram’s first triumph in the U-17 meet.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren graced the occasion with his presence before the match.
“I am really proud of the way my Boys played not only in the Final but throughout the tournament,” Mizoram Coach Jonathana said post match.
With the match 19 minutes old, Assam scored against the run of play when Jwngbla Brahma, receiving a cross from the right flank, spun his marker beautifully to jab home from close.
It took Mizoram six minutes to convert their possession ratio into a goal, Mawihmingthanga converting from the spot on the second attempt after being disallowed the first time by referee R Palmsen Moses.
Mizoram missed striker Vanlaldwatsanga who has been scoring in buckets for the Northeastern outfit. The Red Shirts whose best finish in the tourney was back in 1995-96 where they lost to Bengal 0-4 in the Final, spurned a hatful in the first half.
Vanlaldwatsanga was part of the Indian U-16 National Team in the SAFF U-16 Championships in 2012. Apart from Vanlaldwatsanga, right-back Jonathan Lalmuansanga and striker Lalmuanzova had also donned National colours for India U-13 Team during the AFC U-13 Festival in Iran in 2011.
The script completely changed for four-time Runners-Up Assam in first-half stoppage time. Down to 10-men after their custodian Jikil Basumatary – on a booking — was given marching orders for handling the ball outside his area, the green shirts fell prey to a venomous free-kick from Valremkima from the resultant free kick.
Change of ends saw no change of fortunes for wounded Assam as Mizoram cushioned their advantage in the 55th minute when Chhangte prodded home on the rebound.
It had started raining in Ranchi by then and it rained goals on the pitch too. Mawihmingthanga added two more to his name in quick succession and Vanlalremkima curled home another free-kick from just outside the box deep into second half stoppage time.