Santosh Trophy North East Zone : Paolenlal & Subhas Shine for Manipur; Beat Tripura
Heavyweights Manipur thrashed Tripura 4-0 courtesy of a brace from Paolenlal Khongsai and Subhash Singh in Group B match of the 71st National Santosh Trophy 2017 North East Zone qualifier played at the Polo Ground in Shillong.
It was routine victory for Manipur as they set up a tantalising clash with arch rivals Mizoram to claim the top spot in the group to earn their ticket for the next round.
Manipur started with a bang, pressing hard from the first whistle. Efforts eventually paid off in the 20th minute when Imran Khan, 2015 Manipur Footballer of the Year, was brought down inside the box. Subhas Singh stepped up to take the spot kick and comfortably converts it to give the former champions a lead.
Moments later, prolific striker Paolenlal Khongsai rose to the occasion with a sublime finish, connecting a fine cross from clinical Imran Khan to double the lead. Paolenlal scored his 2nd goal in the 40th minute when strike partner Subhas Singh set him up beautifully just for the FC Zalen striker to tab in the ball pass the on-rushing Tripura GK.
Just at the stroke of the half-time, Subhas Singh struck again, eventually taking the game away from the reach of Tripura.
The 2nd half started with Manipur continuing their domination.But Tripura boys came in with a renewed vigour and defended resolutely. They also stretched the Manipur defence on many occasions but failed to find the back of the net. Manipur also got their fair chances, the best being a penalty, which Subhas squandered.
At the full time whistle, the scoreline remained 4-0 but Manipur remained 2nd in the pecking order, below Mizoram, who have better goal difference. The two will clash on Jan 8 to decide the group winner.
Meanwhile, Tripura got eliminated, having conceded 10 goals while not being able to open their account.