Indian Football Legends I.M. Vijayan and Bembem Devi were there at the Khelo India School Games as the Chief guests.
Mizoram and Haryana earned top honours in football in the boys and girls final matches as curtains came down the first Khelo India School Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.
In the finals, 15-year-old Lalnunzama, who scored one goal and assisted in two others to help Mizoram overcome a late fight-back by Punjab, was the hero of most crucial match of the competition. His sublime finish in the 24th minute opened his team’s account, which took his personal tally to nine goals in the tournament.
Punjab managed to pull one back in the 29th minute with captain Rohit Shekh finding the back of the net from a Sukhwinder Singh cross. However, in the second half, it took Mizoram less than two minutes to restore their lead when F. Lalnuntluanga scored a thunderous goal from outside the box giving the opposition goalkeeper no chance to stop the ball. In the 51st minute, midfielder H. Zawnhmingthana unleashed a cracking shot from 20 yards to make 3-1.
Mizoram were down to 10-men in the 75th minute when star player Lalnunzama picked up his second yellow card. It allowed Punjab more space on the pitch, which resulted in Sukhwinder Singh pulling one back in the 81st minute to reduce the deficit to one goal. But that was all Punjab could manage despite their best effort.
In the bronze medal match, Delhi dominated the proceedings to beat Haryana 4-0. Delhi scored the first goal when midfielder Abhishek Kumar found himself in the right place to tap in a rebound one minute into stoppage time at the end of the first half. In the second half, Delhi kept up the pressure for which they were rewarded in the 61st minute when forward Sanjeet Malik found the back of the net. Karthikeya added the third goal in the 70th minute, while Eshan Khan scored the fourth goal in the 90th minute to complete the formalities.
In the girls finals, the invincible Manipur girls, who steamrolled the opposition in the group games, met their match in Haryana. It seemed Manipur was well all set to dictate the terms on the pitch when Babysana Devi struck in the very first minute of the game to seize the initiative.
Former Indian National Football Team Captain Bembem Devi giving away the winners trophy to Haryana Girls at the 1st Khelo India School Games.
Despite the early setback, Haryana remained composed as they started dictating the pace. Haryana were rewarded for their perseverance and skills when captain Samiksha restored parity in the 16th minute. Renu put her side ahead after she found the mark in the 24th minute, but within the same minute Babysana equalised for Manipur.
Two quick goals by Samiksha (41st) and Renu two minutes into stoppage time of the first half put Haryana decisively ahead in the match with the scoreline reading 4-2. However, Manipur roared back into contention in the second half. Babydolly (50th) and Laxmi Devi (56th) scored in quick succession to put the match on an even keel.
Finally, Mona delivered the hammer blow for Haryana in the 84th minute to claim gold after a hard-fought and bruising encounter.
Mizoram and Punjab boys showed great tempo regardless of their age
In the bronze medal match, Odisha blanked West Bengal 8-0 in a one-sided affair. Odisha captain Susmita Tanty struck with two goals in the 5th and 55th minutes, while Basanti Xess also pumped in two goals in the 29th and 57th minutes. Parbati Marmu 24th, Tulsima Keerta (42nd) Pratima Oram (70th) scored a goal each for the winning side. Mandira Bag’s own goal made it 8-0 for the Odisha.
Mizoram beat Punjab 3-2
Scorers for Mizoram: Lalnunzama 24th; F. Lalnuntluanga 47th; H. Zawnhmingthana 51st
Scorers for Punjab: Rohit Shekh 29th; Sukhwinder Singh 81st.
Haryana bt Manipur 5-4
Scorers for Haryana: Samiksha 16th, 41st ; Renu 24th, 45th+2”; Mona 84th
Scorers for Manipur: TH Babysana Devi 1st, 24th; Babydolly Devi 50th; Y. Laxmi Devi 56th.