Lalthazuala’s winner does it for Mizoram 

 Mizoram continued with their dream run in the national football scenario winning the 35th National Games men’s football title within a year of their maiden Santosh Trophy victory. Mizoram on Monday night edged past Punjab with a solitary goal to lift the title at Kozhikode in Kerala.

By Our correspondent
  • Published 11.02.15
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Guwahati: Mizoram continued with their dream run in the national football scenario winning the 35th National Games men’s football title within a year of their maiden Santosh Trophy victory.
Mizoram on Monday night edged past Punjab with a solitary goal to lift the title at Kozhikode in Kerala.

After a barren first half, Imanuel Lalthazuala netted the gold medal-winning goal in the 83rd minute off a flag kick by skipper David Lalrinmuana to enthral the 25,000 strong crowd. The achievement came within 11 months of Mizoram lifting the Santosh Trophy at Siliguri.

Mizoram also registered victories over Punjab for the second time within five days having defeated the latter 2-0 in the group league on Wednesday.

It was the Punjab men who dominated the show most part of the final match on Monday night and they were almost in total control of the proceedings in the second half. However, the Mizoram men did not waste the single opportunity they got to steal the show.

Mizoram Football Association secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar told The Telegraph from Aizawl: “It is a huge success for a tiny state like Mizoram to win two titles within a year. We have always had the potential, but did not have the infrastructure and platform to prove ourselves. 

“Neither do we have the investment to promote the game.”

Asked what helped the state excel so much within a short period, Hmar said: “We always supplied players to teams outside the state. It was only in 2012, after the Mizoram Premier League got going our players had the opportunity to perform.”

On the team’s show and future plans, he said: “Only two players from the Santosh Trophy-winning team played in the National Games. This means we had a new bunch of players in Kerala. Future looks perfect for Mizoram football at this point in time.” 

Meanwhile, Manipur women beat defending champions Odisha 5-3 via tiebreakerto lift the women’s football title in Thrichur on Tuesday.