Driven by opportunistic strikes by Sandeep Kachhap and Paolenmang Tuboi, Bokaro High School (Jharkhand) scored a 2-1 victory over favourites Army Boys Sports Company in the final of the Subroto Cup junior football tournament under floodlights at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Tuesday evening.
Even though both the teams were dominant in their march to the final, the Army Boys were expected to play better as they had been consistently vibrant in every match, scoring 25 goals and conceding four in all. In no match in its path to the final, did the Army Boys concede more than a goal in five outings.
It was a different story in the final, as the Jharkhand boys handled the second half with considerable energy after being 1-1 at the interval.
It was a superb header by Paolenmang Tuboi in the 14th minute of the second half that proved the match-winner for the Jharkhand side. A corner kick by Boilen Lhungddim was headed back by a defender, but Lhungddim followed that up with an accurate floater to the far post where Tuboi nodded nicely past a confused goalkeeper.
That goal was expected to electrify the proceedings and bring out the best from the Army Boys. It was not to be. In contrast, it was the Jharkhand team which pressed hard to retain the advantage. In fact, the Army Boys had nothing to show in the second half, except for a miscued free kick.
What clinched it for the Jharkhand team in the eventual analysis was its spirited start. Sandeep Kachhap put the team ahead in the seventh minute with a crisp left-footer, after he was put through by Johnson Singh; P Lalrampana had initiated the move.
That goal definitely teased the Army Boys to fight their best, and they brought off a series of moves which, however, could not beat the Jharkhand goalkeeper Rajkumar Mahato.
The equaliser came midway through the first half, about ten minutes after the Jharkhand goal, as M Haokip placed a firm shot over the goalkeeper from an acute angle from the right.
The Jharkhand team had scored 24 goals on its way to the final, one less than the Army Boys, but when it counted the latter managed to score one more. Jharkhand had conceded only three goals before the final, which spoke for its strong defence and an all-round energetic game.
The former national captain Bhaichung Bhutia was the guest of honour, for the final.
Boilen Lhungddim was adjudged the ‘best player’’ of the tournament, while Sajal Bhawal of the Army Boys was declared the ‘best goalkeeper’. Subhash Rajak of the champion team was presented the ‘best coach’ award. Meghalaya won the ‘fair play’ trophy.
The results (final):
Bokaro High Schol, Bokaro City, Jharkhand 2 (Sandeep Kachhap, Paolenmang Tuboi) beats Army Boys Sports Company 1 (M Haokip).
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