Baichung, Ratobe shines as HQ IGAR(N), Barak FC enter semis
HQ IGAR (N) defeated two-times champion New Market through tie break after a closely contested match, while former champions Barak FC eased to the last four by humiliating Orion FC with a 9-0 margin.
KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 1
Headquarter Inspector General Assam Rifles-North (HQ IGAR-N) and former champions Barak Football Club surged ahead to clash against each other on September 4 in the semi-finals of the ongoing 20th Classic Cup 2014 organised by Classic Club under the theme “Touching Lives through Football” at Kohima Local Ground.
Playing a closely contested and exciting third quarter final match, HQ IGAR(N) defeated two times champion New Market by 3-2 via tie-breaker as the teams were locked in 1-1 during the 95 minutes play, including 80 minutes stipulated time and 15 minutes extra time. Both sides were equally competent and managed to hold back rival strikers from penetrating into the nets, until the last minute of the first half, when New Market’s scoring maniac Yhunshalo Kemp broke the dead-lock with a magnificent header off a long cross from Salu Kulim from the left out.
HQ IGAR returning in the second half took to offensive play and made some quick attacks through strikers Demo (10) and AI Singh (11) while they got a free chance in the 52nd minute but Ephriam Zofa (16) header off Ashik Sunar’s (15) cross missed the target. In the 50th minute, New Market got an opportunity to double the margin but IGAR defender AS Benjamin (18) was quick in intercepting and clearing Yhunshalo’s cross for unmarked colleague Rhitso Mero.
IGAR forward Ephriam taking advantage of the New Market defence lapse disappointed the old time favourites in bringing home the equalizer in the 60th minute. Two minutes later, Rhitso came one on one with rival custodian, but Baichung was strong enough to thwart away his shot to end the stipulated 80 minutes in 1-1 draw. Sei Lala of IGAR and Velukho of new Market were penalized with a yellow card each in the 73rd and 77th minute of the game.
Moving into the third minute of 15 minutes extra time, IGAR forwards combined well through Ephraim and Sei Lala for AI Singh, but his shot was feeble for custodian Vekuto Puroh to get hold, while in the 92nd minute Yhunshalo tried a power grounder but Baichung made an excellent dive to his right to block it. The extra time also ended in 1-1 with third yellow card of the match penalized against L. Ralte.
In the tie-breaker Baichung Bhutia saved three shots of New Market – first Keneisedelie, second Salu Kulim and fifth Meren Jamir while Yhunshalo and Kezevituo Bio managed to find the target. On the other hand, IGAR had to take only four shots as Demo, S. Valte and Baichung himself hammered Vekuto, except Sei Lala hitting it out of the post.
In the last quarter final match, former champions (2012), Barak FC shattered Orion FC by a huge 9-0 win. Scoring one of the fastest goals of the tourney, Aloumei (7) opened the flood gates in the third minute. The former champs continued to take control of the ball for most part of the game, but managed to score the second lead after 15 minutes as Emsolung (16) flicked the ball into the nets following rival custodian K. Chithuyio failure to clear the ball. They scored the third goal through Nyinthing Magh (11) in the injury added time of the first half.
In the breather half, Ratobe (10) increased the margin with the fourth goal in the 50th minute after which there was no stopping for the former champs as Nampibo (8) added the fifth followed by Ratobe’s second and sixth for the team in the 58th minute. Ten minutes later substitute player Tepongmeren (19) was joyful in scoring the seventh score supported with skipper Tingnyek Konyak (15) scoring the eighth goal in the 71st minute.
Mentionably, the 75th minute witnessed Orion FC making their first decisive move with substitute player Ketho trying a long ranger but safely being caught by custodian Peisuidibe (1). It was Ratobe scoring his hat-trick and ninth goal for the team to seal the score board couple of minutes before the final whistle.
Two Orion players Ketho and Zakiebeituo were penalized with yellow card for foul play during the match.
The winners of the today’s matches will play lock horns in the second semi-final on September 3 at 2:30 pm.
1st Semi-final Match (September 3)
@ 2:30 pm