MS Dawngzela’s lone goal became the passport for NCC (North Eastern Region), Aizawl to emerge winners of the Subroto Trophy. On Tuesday, the NCC boys kissed the trophy after a hard-fought 1-0 win against Sagarbhanga High School from Durgapur, West Bengal, in the final of the u-17 category at the Ambedkar Stadium.
The Mizoram outfit, known for their attacking brand of football was not at their effervescent best, but in the end, it proved just enough to eke out a well-deserved win against the West Bengal outfit.
The first half saw both teams playing attacking football — there were countless raids and shots at goal, but the custodian of NCC’s V. Lalkhawngaiha and Sagarbhanga’s Sudipta Bannerjee were equal to the task. That the first half ended in a 0-0 scoreline was due to some brilliant work under the bar by the two goalkeepers.
Even as the first half did not see a goal, the second half saw both teams shifting into top gear and their search for that elusive goal made every moment of the second half worth watching.
Dawngzela’s broke the deadlock in the 47th minute when he scored from a Lalfakzuala freekick. Sagarbhanga stopper Subhankar Dey was found guilty of tackling NCC’s Lalfakzuala from behind, and Dawngzela made no mistake converting Lalfakzuala’s freekick into a matchwinner.
On this occasion too, Sagarbhanga goalkeeper Banerjee made a valiant effort but in vain.
“I’m not happy with the team’s performance. I think we were lucky to win the match,” said NCC coach Lalbulliana.
Even as most of the Sagarbhanga players gave a good account of themselves, in a losing cause notwithstanding, Luiz Greco, the team’s Technical Director was disappointed by in-form striker Malswam Zwala’s performance.
Zwala’s outstanding performances in the run up to the final gave Greco a good reason to pin his hopes on the prolific striker, but unfortunately for Sagarbhanga, Zwala failed to deliver when it mattered most.
"He was brilliant throughout, but you can’t expect one to play in the same manner everyday, We did not play our normal game. Instead of playing ground passes we were playing long balls and NCC made use of that,” said Greco.
"This is not the way we play in Brazil," said Greco, who played club football in Brazil.
Sagarbhanga midfielder Ram Malik was adjudged the Most Promising Player, while Lalhlimpuia bagged the Best Player award.