The winning team, Chandigarh, at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, May 5: The Jharkhand fortress was breached by Chandigarh, at the JRD Tata Sports Complex today, who pumped in a solitary goal to walk away with the U-15 Nike Manchester United Premier Cup.
Both the teams, who had fought their way to the final — Chandigarh blanking Manipur 3-0 and Jharkhand defeating Sikkim 3-0 — matched each other skill for skill during the regulation time of 40 minutes, forcing the match to roll into extra time.
However, Chandigarh proved to be the better in the added time, digging deep into their strength and finding that one goal in the 51st minute that made the difference.
The hosts seemed to pick up from where they left against Sikkim yesterday, displaying wonderful ball control and making good runs in the opponent’s territory, with star forward Y. Gopi Singh again leading the pack.
However, despite trying hard, the state players could not find the back of the net, as didn’t the Chandigarh players.
Three state players — Prantik Roy, Sinbad Ansari and David J. Horo — went overboard with their tackles and were shown the yellow card. The count was one for the Chandigarh with Nishu Kumar being cautioned by the referee.
Gopi, walked away with the highest number of goals against his name with Chandigarh’s Nishu Kumar being judged the best player of the tournament.
Both received souvenirs from Ganesh Prasad, the additional deputy commissioner of East Singhbhum, who was the chief guest at the occasion.
“We are a touch disappointed that we lost. But that are many positives that we would take back. We plaued as a unit and tried our best,” 12-year-old striker Gopi told The Telegraph later.
Nishu said that the team was confident of their chances going in to the final.
Both Jharkhand and Chandigarh, however, qualified for the finals of the competition to be played at Goa on May 10.
Nike India conducted the tournament under the aegis of All India Football Federation with the support of Tata Steel.
Thirteen teams — Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Bengal, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, Tripura and UP — played in the tournament that was held from May 2 to May 5.