The northeastern state totally outclassed last year’s runners-up with crisp short passing…

Mizoram eased past Maharashtra as they registered an easy 3-1 win in the 71st Santosh Trophy match played at GMC Stadium, Bambolim earlier today.

Mizoram arrived in Goa with two wins in the NorthEast Zone Qualifiers where they first thrashed Tripura 6-0 and registered a hard fought 2-1 win over Manipur. While last year finalist also landed in Goa with the same number of win without conceding any goals in the West Zone Qualifiers.

Maharashtra coach Godred Pereira made one change to his side as he brought in Umesh Perambra in the starting XI. While Aditya Mishra and Vijith Shetty were new faces on the bench for the western state. Mizoram coach Lalsangzuala Hmar also introduced three new faces in the starting XI as Lalfakzuala Fakzuala, F. Lalrinpuia and keeper Lalruatpuia found their names in the lineup.

The western state started the match on an attacking note and won a free-kick just outside the box. Rahul Das stepped forward and nicely curled it onto the far post but Mizoram keeper dived to his limit to block the shot.

However, it was the northeast team who scored the opener in the 8th minute when Lalbiakhlua tried to find V. Lalmalsawma in the box but Maharashtra defender Sebin Arghese intercepted it and back passed to out of position keeper Harshad Meher. Taking advantage of the same Lalmalsawma made an easy tap in the goal making it 1-0 for Mizoram.

Four minutes later, Maharashtra found the equaliser through Rahul Das. Vinil Poojary’s powerful shot from inside the box was blocked by defender H. Lalhlimpuia, the ball rolled to Das who took no time to blast the ball into the back of the nylons.

Maharashtra had a good chance at the half hour mark but Abhishek Ambekar failed to direct his shot from close after receiving a long ball from Sebin. He was the culprit again when he shot wide from point blank range.

Mizoram punished them for not taking the chances and surged ahead two minutes before the halftime whistle. Ramfangzauva found Lalbiakhlua with a curling cross in the box, who in turn headed it to Lalfakzuala. The midfield quickly blasted the ball in the net.

The second half saw two quick attacks from Maharashtra, however, they failed to capitalise on the same. A few minutes later, Mizoram extended their lead through Lalsangbera Sangbera. Lalfakzuala cut past two defenders to enter the box and sent a low pass to the striker, whose powerful shot from inside the box easily went past keeper Meher.

Down by two goals, Maharashtra tried hard to get back in the match but Mizoram’s defenders stood tall to deny them every time.

Mizoram coach Hmar said “It was a difficult match, they were the finalists of the last edition and defeating them was really difficult. My boys played well and came out victorious. I am happy with how they played today.”  

In the day’s other match played at Navelim Ground, Punjab squeezed past Railways 2-1. Rajbir took the lead in the 13th minute for Punjab. Railways Rajesh Soosanayakam scored the equaliser in the 58th minutes. However they could not manage to hold Northern state for too long as Rajbir Singh once again scored in the very next minute and confirmed Punjab’s win.