Junior Girls' National Championship: Mizoram, Gujarat seal quarterfinal spots

Mizoram beat Kerala 4-0 and Gujarat sealed a 3-0 win over Telangana to secure their spots in the quarterfinals of the Junior Girls' National Championship.

Action from the Junior Girls' National Championship Group H clash between Mizoram and Kerala on Thursday.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Mizoram and Gujarat rose to the occasion as they secured their spots in the quarterfinal of the Junior Girls' National Football Championships on Thursday.

The stakes were high for Mizoram as it faced Kerala in a virtual playoff for a last eight spot from Group H. Mizoram got off a spectacular start and soared to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first half, courtesy of a Lalrinmuani hat-trick and an own goal from Soniya Jose. Kerala staged a comeback in the second half and halved the deficit through Sreelakshmi A and Arya Sree S, but fell short in the end.

RELATED| Junior Girls' National Championship: Manipur, Haryana move into quarterfinals

Gujarat earned its spot in the quarters after registering a 3-0 win over Telengana. Gujarat entered the tie knowing that it had to win by three goals or more, having drawn 0-0 against Bihar, which was on top of Group F with four points. Alkaben Thakor and Aruna Chauhan bagged first half goals and Drishti Pant's strike in the 62nd minute sealed the win, powering Gujarat to the top of the table.

In Group E action, Chhattisgarh ended its campaign on a high as it cruised to a 7-0 win over Pondicherry.

Host Maharashtra also ended its campaign on a winning note with a 3-1 win over Chandigarh in Group G. Priyanka Sujeesh opened the scoring in the 21st minute while Sai Sankhe added a second with the last kick of the first half.

RELATED|U-17 Women’s World Cup ‘vital in rearing next generation’ of players, says Maymol Rocky

After the break, Chandigarh bounced back as captain Antrika scored from the spot to reduce the gap but Sankhe scored her second goal of the game in the 68th minute to secure the three points for Maharashtra.

- Knockout phase begins on Friday -

The quarterfinals will get underway at the Polo Ground on Friday and the first clash will see Jharkhand and Manipur lock horns. Both teams have remained unbeaten thus far and Jharkhand scored a stunning 31 unopposed goals in its two matches, while Manipur scored 10 goals in three games.

 

The second clash will see defending champion Tamil Nadu take on Haryana, the former coming into the game on the back of wins against Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. Haryana, on the other hand, played thrice in the group stages - scoring a total of 20 goals and conceding none.

RELATED| Under-17 Women's World Cup is a fantastic moment for Indian football, says Alex Ambrose

The girls will be eager to shine as the tourney will serve as a platform for scouting talent for the FIFA U-117 Women's World Cup, which will be held in India next year. Indian women's football team coach Maymol Rocky and U-18 women's coach Alex Ambrose will be attending the matches to help with the scouting process.

The fixtures for the quarterfinals are as follows:

 

April 26, 2019 (Friday)

QF 1 - Jharkhand vs Manipur (7:15 AM)
QF 2 - Tamil Nadu vs Haryana (4 PM)

April 27, 2019 (Saturday)

QF 3 - Odisha vs Himachal Pradesh (7:15 AM)
QF 4 - Gujarat vs Mizoram (4 PM)