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Mizoram academy upset East Bengal to enter final

The Mizoram boys will now take on SBHS Football Academy, Gurdaspur, tomorrow to win the right to represent India at the South-East Asian regional finals in Kuala Lumpur in June.

sports Updated: Jan 19, 2008 21:49 IST

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Football Academy, Mizoram, upset tournament favourites and defending champions East Bengal 5-3 in the tie-breaker to enter the title round of the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup (India finals) at the Duler Stadium here on Saturday.

The Mizoram boys will now take on SBHS Football Academy, Gurdaspur, tomorrow to win the right to represent India at the South-East Asian regional finals in Kuala Lumpur in June.

The Gurdaspur academy team edged past St. Stephens Football Academy, Chandigarh, 5-4, in another penalty shootout after the match was locked 1-1 after regulation time of 40 minutes.

The South-East Asian winners will make it to the main event to be held this time in South Africa in August.

This would be the first time India will be represented by an academy side in this international Under-15 competition.

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal had made it to the showpiece event in Manchester in the previous two editions.

In a dramatic afternoon which produced some good football, three out of the four matches were decided via penalty shoot-outs.

Mahindra United sealed fifth spot after beating Salgaocar Sports Club 4-3 via penalty shoot-out, while Cosmos Football Academy from Tamil Nadu beat Sporting Clube-de-Goa 2-0, thereby relegating the Goan side to last place.

East Bengal seemed the class side of the competition over the first two days but looked a pale shadow of themselves against the academy side from Mizoram on Saturday.

Swarup Das boys had brushed aside their group oppositions, scoring 14 goals without conceding any. But they allowed themselves to be dominated by the team from the north-east which had much of the better of the exchanges.

In contrast, East Bengal struggled to put together even a few penetrative attacks.

SSA Academy could have won the match in regulation time had had it not been for their lack of clinical finishing and some desperate defending by East Bengal.

In the penalty shootout, the boys from Mizoram converted all five of their spot kicks while only three Kolkata boys found the target.

East Bengal will now play for third place against St. Stephens Academy tomorrow.

In the other semifinal, Amritpal Singh gave SBHS Academy the lead in the very first minute while Johnychand Singh restored parity for St Stephens in the 26th minute.

The team from Gurdaspur prevailed 4-3 in the tie-breaker.

Results: Semifinals:

SBHS Football Academy, Gurdaspur beat St Stephens Football Academy, Chandigarh, 5-4 (1-1 in regulation time)

SSA Football Academy, Mizoram, beat East Bengal 5-3 on penalties

Fifth place match: Mahindra United beat Salgaocar Sports Club 4-3 on penalties

Seventh place match: Cosmos Football Academy, Tamil Nadu beat Sporting Clube-de-Goa 2-0.