Mizoram beat Sikkim to lift North East Dr. T Ao Trophy

Mizoram beat Sikkim to lift North East Dr. T Ao Trophy
Champions of North East Dr. T Ao Trophy, Mizoram with chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio after lifting the trophy at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima on Tuesday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, JAN 28 (NPN) | Publish Date: 1/28/2020 12:45:35 PM IST

Mizoram defeated Sikkim by a solitary goal to lift the North East Dr. T Ao Trophy for the third time played here at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima on Tuesday. 

David Lalrinmuana’s goal in the second half proved to be decisive in the final match as Mizoram hold on their nerve to win the match.

Playing in front of packed stadium, the thrilling final match witnessed a goalless draw in the first half.  Mizoram dominated the proceedings in the match but the lacklustre finishing from their strikers end failed to break the deadlock. Mizoram midfielder Lalchungnunga Chhangte continued to create problems for Sikkim defenders with his speed and skills, but the team were undone in their finishing.

The best chance for Mizoram came through Malsawmfela, however, his shot was parried away by Sikkim goalie Nindup Lepcha to keep the match goalless in the first half. 

In the second half, Mizoram continued with their attack but failed to break the dead lock. And when it looked like the match was heading for a draw, Mizoram midfielder David Lalrinmuana scored through a stunning long range to give the lead in the 74th minute. Sikkim goalie Nindup Lepcha, who was kept busy throughout the match, produced some spectacular saves to keep his team in contest.

Despite effort from Sikkim team, they failed to make much impression. Their best chance came in the 81st minute through Sonam Tshering Lepcha but he squandered the change hitting the ball straight to the keeper as Mizoram held on for a victory.

With the win, Mizoram have won the trophy three times (2011, 2014 and now 2020), while Sikkim were the runners-up in 2011, 2016 and 2020. 

Meanwhile, Nagaland defeated Arunachal Pradesh by 4-2 to claim the third position of the tournament.

In the match, Nagaland forward Rhitsho Mero continued his good form as he scored two goals for the team to take his tally to 10 goals, while Khwetelhi Thopi also struck twice in the match. Tarh Dolu and R. D. Karma scored a goal each for Arunachal team.

Imlongchaba was unlucky not to score in the match as he hit the woodwork twice in the second half.  

Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio who graced the occasion as the special guest gave away the awards to the champions and runners-up while Er. Zale Neikha, advisor, Youth Resources and Sports gave the prize to the 3rd and 4th position.

Mizoram walked home with a cash prize of Rs Rs. 10, 00,000, trophy and certificates, while the runners-up team, Sikkim received Rs. 6,00,000 along with trophy and citations.

Host team Nagaland received Rs 2 lakh while Arunachal Pradesh pocketed Rs.1 lakh along with trophy and citations.

The fair play winner received Rs. 50,000. Player of the tournament received Rs. 25,000 while the best goalkeeper, best defender, best midfielder, best forward, and the man of the final received Rs.10,000 each. The champion team coach and manager received Rs.15,000 each, while the runner up team manager and coach pocketed Rs.10,000 each.

Individual awards

Man of the final: 

David Lalrinmuana (Mizoram)

Player of the tournament: 

Lalchungnunga Chhangte (Mizoram)

Best goalkeeper:  

Urgen Pintso Sherpa (Sikkim)

Best defence: 

Hemping (Nagaland)

Best midfielder: 

Kilpo Namgyal Barfungpa (Sikkim)

Best Forward: 

Malsawmfela (Mizoram)

Highest scorer: 

Rhitsho Mero (Nagaland)

Fair play winner: 

Arunachal Pradesh


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