Easy wins for Manipur, Odisha in U20 men's football nationals

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS): Manipur and Odisha got off to a good start in the Swami Vivekananda U-20 Men’s National Football Championship as they beat Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, respectively, at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Ground, in Narainpur, Chhattisgarh, on Sunday.

Khullakpam Zahir Khan scored a hat-trick as a sublime second-half performance against Chandigarh saw Manipur take the top spot in Group A, scoring a 6-1 victory. The match was tied 1-1 at half-time.

Ashangbam Bhaskar Singh (16’) put Manipur into an early lead against Chandigarh, who pulled back through a Manveer Singh strike in the first half injury time (45+1’). The second half was all about Manipur, as Nicky Tongson (64’) put them back in the lead before Rohit Singh doubled it from the spot (73’).

Zahir Khan found some joy late in the game, scoring a hat-trick in the last 15 minutes, to give his side a massive goal-difference advantage, said a report in the-aiff.com on Sunday.

Odisha pip Himachal

It was a much closer encounter between Odisha and Himachal Pradesh in the evening, as the former picked up the three points with a 2-0 win. The match remained goalless till half-time.

Odisha came off the blocks quickly in the second half and produced some intricate combination play to move swiftly past the midfield and the defensive lines of Himachal.

Agastin Munda, Suresh Khadia, and Anil Toppo were all involved in the combination play, but Dhaneswar Beshra (47’) finished off the move with a side-footed curler into the far post.

Suresh Khadia (76’) turned scorer to double Odisha’s lead with less than a quarter of an hour left on the clock when he pounced on a defensive lapse by Himachal and slotted it home.

With these results, Manipur and Odisha are both on three points each. The former are ahead on goal difference. Himachal and Chandigarh are third and fourth, respectively.

Group H action begins on Monday in Narainpur as Sikkim take on Andaman & Nicobar while Telangana face Bihar.


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Title: Easy wins for Manipur, Odisha in U20 men's football nationals

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