Delhi & Karnataka set up summit clash in U-20 National Football Championship!

Delhi and Karnataka, on Monday, May 20, 2024, won their semifinal matches against Mizoram and Manipur, respectively, to set up a title clash in the inaugural Swami Vivekananda U-20 Men’s National Football Championship, at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Ground, in Narainpur.

In two closely fought semifinals, Delhi beat Mizoram 3-2, while Karnataka edged Manipur 1-0.

Delhi 3-2 Mizoram
(D: Haodamlian Vaiphei 1′, Ramesh Chhetri 33′, Sankhil Darpol Tushang 65′; M: Lalthankima 20′,78′)

Delhi saw off a late surge by Mizoram in their semifinal to win 3-2 in a match that was primarily controlled by the former.

The side from the capital took the lead in the very first minute through Haodamlian Vaiphei, taking everyone by surprise. It took Mizoram some time to recover from the early goal, but they did so with a well-crafted equaliser in the 20th minute. C Lalmuanzuala threaded a perfect aerial through ball to Lalthankima, who brought it down with a fine touch, rounded the keeper, and scored. Their joy was not to last too long, however, as Delhi regained the lead in the 33rd through Ramesh Chhetri.

Delhi began the second half intent on furthering their advantage, and they managed to double their lead in the 65th when Sankhil Darpol finished off a flowing move as he tapped in a low cross from the left.

Mizoram were not about to give in easily, though, and mounted an almighty effort in the last quarter of an hour, which brought them to within one goal of Delhi once again in the 78th minute, as Lalthankima capitalised on some defensive confusion to score his second of the match.

As things got frantic inside the Delhi penalty box towards the end of the game, Malswamzuala Tlangte saw his back-to-back efforts blocked by the opposition defence. Meanwhile, Lalthankima found himself one-on-one with Delhi goalkeeper Karan Makkar, who pulled off a crucial save in injury time to guide his side to the final.

Karnataka 1-0 Manipur
(Saikhom Borish Singh 14′ p)

In the day’s first semifinal, Karnataka defeated Manipur by a solitary goal. The all-important goal came in the 14th minute of the match from a penalty, scored by Saikhom Borish Singh.

The well-contested semifinal was watched by a good number of spectators, which included schoolchildren. Dronacharya awardee coach Bimal Ghosh and former India player Alvito D’Cunha were among the people who watched the proceedings from the stands.

Karnataka took the lead in the 14th minute when the referee, Rabin Biswas, pulled up a Manipur defender for a foul inside the box. Lanky Borish Singh gave goalkeeper Paonam Charansingh little chance to guess the possible direction of the ball as his confident right footer crashed against the net.

Borish is a prolific scorer and has so far netted six goals in the tournament. In the quarterfinals, too, when Karnataka ended Bengal by one goal, Borish found the target for his team. On Monday, he was named the Player of the Match.

Manipur made some spirited moves once they fell into arrears. However, an unyielding Karnataka defence, backed by an intelligent midfield, kept their opponents at bay for the rest of the period. In the end, if Manipur rued their missed chances, then they were also lucky on a few occasions for not conceding any more goals.

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