Santosh Trophy: Manipur Outclass Assam 7-1 To Clinch Berth In Semifinals

(MENAFN- IANS) Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), March 5 (IANS) Wangkheimayum Sadananda Singh scored three goals as former champions Manipur came up with a powerful display to hammer Assam 7-1 in the third quarterfinal of the 77th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy at the Golden Jubilee Stadium, here on Tuesday.

Manipur surged to a 4-0 lead within 20 minutes, thus virtually eliminating any chances of an Assam comeback. However, Assam managed to salvage some pride with a second-half goal.

While Sadananda Singh scored in the 11th, 16th and 70th minutes skipper Phijam Sanathoi Meetei (4'), Ngangbam Pacha Singh (19', P), Maibam Deny Singh (82') and Imarson Meitei (88') were the other scorers for the winners. Joydeep Gogoi scored the only goal for Assam in the 64th minute. Phijam Sanathoi Meetei opened the scoring as he seized the opportunity in the 4th minute from Sadananda Singh's pass outside the box to sneak the ball past Assam goalkeeper Abhinash Mech.

This was his 11th goal in this edition, making him the leading scorer in the 77th Santosh Trophy for the 2023–24 season. This early goal set the tone for Manipur's dominance, with Sanathoi Meetei proving to be a constant thorn in Assam's flesh throughout the match because of his attacking prowess. As if not content with the early goal, Ngathem Imarson Meitei displayed his proficiency with a powerful left-footer in the 6th minute from the edge of the box, although Assam's Abhinash Mech managed to collect it perfectly.

However, Manipur's relentless pressure eventually paid off as Sadananda Singh scored with a diving header in the 11th minute, capitalising on a precise pass from Ngathem Imarson Meitei from the left flank. Manipur continued to pound their rivals, with Sadananda Singh securing his second goal in the 16th minute after a well-coordinated set-up from Sanathoi Meetei. Sadananda placed the ball perfectly into the left corner of the net.

Assam's fortunes were further dented in the 20th minute when Manipur was awarded a penalty after Urjoy Brahma of Assam fouled the Manipur captain, Sanathoi Meetei, inside the box. Ngangbam Pacha Singh made no mistake from the spot kick, confidently slotting the ball into the top corner of the net to extend Manipur's lead to 4-0.

In the 64th minute, Assam scored their only goal, from substitute Joydeep Gogoi's brilliant finish. Akrang Narzary dribbled past a defender and passed it for Joydeep, whose curling shot found the target from a distance.

In the 70th minute, Sadananda completed his hat-trick with a header from inside the box and in the 82nd minute, Manipur's left full-back, Deny Singh, calmly found the back of the net off a pass from Singam Subash Singh. Imarson Meitei completed the tally in the 88th minute.


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