Playing a major tournament final for the first time, Army Green emerged victorious in the 128th Durand football tournament, overcoming Neroca FC (Manipur) 6-5 in a penalty shoot-out.
The match was very tight and ended goalless in regulation time and thirty minutes of extra time. After the regular five penalties, the teams were tied at 4-4 with the shoot-out then going into sudden death.
However, in the sudden death, both Ashok Singh (Neroca FC) and Bikash Budhathoki (Army Green) converted. Then came the decisive moment. Neroca's experienced ex-international defender Govin Singh hit the post with his attempt.
Substitute Bikram Adhikari calmly stepped up and placed the ball to the left of goalkeeper Lalit Thapa and Army Green emerged victorious much to the delight of the jawans, who had assembled at the Ambedkar stadium to cheer for them.
In the penalty shoot-out, Subash Singh, David Lalbiaklara, Mohd Sohail Shah and Dhananjoy Singh converted for Neroca FC. Ex-international Sushil Kumar Singh shot tamely into goalkeeper Mohd Shanoos' hands. Army Green scored through PP Lallawamkima, PD Gurung, Uttam Das and Linesh PV. Sturdy Bobby Chand Singh's shot was saved by Lalit Thapa.
Neroca had the better of exchanges in the match but poor finishing let them down. Their most experienced player Sushil had a bad day in the office. Towards the end of extra time, he headed out from close range after an inviting cross by substitute Anand Kumar Singh. Right-back Ashok Singh also blazed over minutes before the final whistle.