New Delhi: When the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Academy was formed in 1998, their dream was to win the Subroto Cup within five years. That dream came true on Wednesday, a year ahead of schedule. Players from the academy representing Bokaro Secondary School, Sector IV-E won the Cup’s 42nd edition snuffing out local outfit, Apex Public School, Sant Nagar, 1-0.
Midfielder H.L. Malsoma, a Paul Scholes fan, scored the winning goal, a stunning low shot, in the 23rd minute.
Incidentally, Malsoma was a member of the Bokharo Secondary school squad which won the inaugural sub-juniors (under-14) Subroto Cup in 1998. Wednesday’s final saw four other players from that squad — stopper back Nabobroto Ghosh, left back Rajesh Tirkey, skipper and central midfielder Lal Kamal Bhowmick and striker V. Lalchuanmawia.
Interestingly, Tirkey is the only player from Bokaro itself. Of the remaining ten, six are from Bengal and four from Mizoram.
Playing in a 4-4-2 system, with flexible wingers, the Bokaro school set a scorching pace. With central medios Malsoma and Bhowmick controlling the midfield with their interceptions and clever passing, the Bokaro boys applied relentless pressure. The Delhi school was hemmed in in their own half and rarely forayed upfield.
Under pressure, Apex’s left back Ningthoungamba made a weak clearance. An onrushing Malsoma snapped up the ball at the edge of the box and promptly unleashed a scorching low right footer, which beat custodian Ramesh Kumar’s desperate dive.
The winners could have lengthened their margin of victory had they not missed three more chances in the first half.
Striker P.C. Vanlalmuankima struck the post, left winger Vanlalmawia’s goal bound shot was cleared off the line and right winger Gauranga Biswas headed across the goal from close.
In the second half, Apex school tried to slow the pace of the game and Bokaro’s goalkeeper Arup Debnath easily saved attempts by midfielders Sayantan Das Roy and Raj Kumar Pal.