Manipur lifted the fourth edition of the Dr T Ao Memorial football tournament after defeating Mizoram 4-3 goals in a tie-breaker at JN Stadium, Polo ground on Wednesday. The teams were locked 1-1 after full time.
The shootout went as per plans until Mizoram's skipper V Laltanpuia missed. Manipur then scored the next one and Mizoram's Lalchhuantlinga missed the second to gift Manipur the title.
The crowd was treated to an electrifying contest. Manipur started in style and nearly scored in the second minute after M Deepak took a strong right footeer which was brilliantly save by the Mizoram custodian J Van Lal Hriata.
Seven minutes later Manipur got another oppurtunity to score after a powerful strike by Md Sohail from 30 yards away missed the goal by a whisker. Manipur were able to dictate the pace of the match with their accurate passing. Manipur got several openings to score but failed to capitalise.
Mizoram were able to lift their game in the later stages of the first half thanks to the huge crowd support. Mizoram finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when a cross from the right flank found
F Lalriinpuia, who made no mistake. Mizoram led 1-0 at half-time.
Manipur pressed for the equalizer but were denied by the Mizoram defenders. Manipur finally equalized in the 76th minute after L Gogocha fired a shot from outside the box. Five minutes later, Manipur got a golden opportunity to go into the lead after a powerful left footer by KH Naoton saw the ball sail over the cross bar.
Meghalaya striker Niwan-O-Gatphoh emerged as the top scorer of the tournament while Manipur defender T Ajith Singh was declared as the 'best player'.