Mizoram inflicted a crushing 5-1 defeat against Railways in a match played at the GMC Stadium to qualify for the semi-finals of the 71st National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy 2017. Both teams were locked 1-1 at half time.
The first half was cagey with both teams measuring each other’s strengths. With both teams in contention for a semi-final berth, none wanted to concede the first goal. Mizoram playing a 4-2-3-1 formation looked the more compact of the two sides. After the initial cross-fire Mizoram took the lead through Lalchhuanawma Vanchhawng who cut in from the right measured his shot and took a curling ground shot that went past the outreached hands of the Railways goalkeeper Owais Khan. However three minutes before the break, Railways were back on level terms when Jitendra Pal who was left completely unmarked on the left flank, put in delightful cross which was headed in by Goutum Kujur.
The second half though belonged entirely to Mizoram and just fifteen minutes after the break the rout started. F. Lalrinpuia and Sangbera combining well to create space allowing Lalrinpuia to fire home from close range. Mizoram made it 3-1 in the 71st minute when Lalrinpuia on this occasion provided a defence slitting pass to Lalrinchhana who rounded off the keeper and scored. Seven minutes later Mizoram made it 4-1 through a spot kick with Lalsangbera converting the penalty. The rout was completed in the 82nd minute when after Lalrimpuia scored his second of the game.
The win enabled Mizoram to qualify for the semi-finals in second place from Group B behind Kerala.
At the Tilak Maidan, Maharashtra stunned Kerala 2-0 but it was not enough for them to secure a semi-final berth. Vaibhav Shirley scored the first goal for Maharashtra in the 35th minute and Shrikant Veeramallu doubled their lead in the second half to earn Maharashtra a consolation win.
In the semi-finals, West Bengal will play Mizoram on Thursday 23rd March at 15.00 IST and Goa will take on Kerala on the same day at 19.00 IST. Both matches will be played at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim and both matches will be telecast on DD Sports.