Guwahati (Assam): Gritty NPS International School bounced back from a two-goal deficit to eke out a narrow 4-3 victory over Arya Vidyapeeth College in a thrilling senior boys’ semi final of the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports football tournament here on Tuesday.
On the first day of the semifinal matches at the Assam Engineering College ground, NPS were in trouble at half-time as they were down by two goals after Krishna K (31st minute) and Dorjee Letro (34th minute) had put Arya Vidyapeeth in a strong position.
After the break, NPS came back charging with renewed vigour and attacked with more intent. It paid rich dividends as they scored two goals in three minutes to level the scores. Saurav Kumar Ray netted the first in the 48th minute and Siang Mibang booted the equaliser in the 50th.
But Arya Vidyapeeth were undeterred and once again forged ahead as Dorjee Letro scored his second goal in the 66th minute. Having found their groove, NPS were not willing to bow down with Saurav levelling the scores 3-3 with his second strike in the 71st minute. Midfielder Joshua Liantluanga then ensured it was going to be NPS' day with a superb goal in the 75th minute. More importantly, they held on to the slender lead for the next 15 minutes to deny Arya Vidyapeeth.
Dorjee, who tormented the NPS defence throughout, was adjudged player of the match.
NPS' opponents in the final on Friday will be Rajdhar Bora Higher Secondary School who had it relatively easy in the semifinal as they dismantled Hindustan Kendriya Vidyalaya 5-1.
Rakesh Boro led the charge with two goals while Lakhman Boro, Pranab Das and Dipen Das netted one each for the winners. Beckham Biswakarma scored a consolation goal in stoppage time for HKV.
In the junior boys’ semis, Betkuchi High School edged out Sundarbari High School 7-6 via sudden death after both teams were locked goalless at regulation time. The teams were evenly matched in the shootouts as they were on target with their first five shots. In the sudden death, the Betkuchi lads continued to convert from the spot but R Dhanjit missed and with it Sundarbari's hopes went up in smoke.
Arunodoi Academy had no such difficulty as they put it across Delhi Public School, Ahomgaon 3-1 to set up a title clash with Betkuchi. DPS had the initial say in the proceedings when Yash Narzary scored in the 10th minute to put them 1-0 ahead. But Apal Mochahary powered Arunodoi's charge with two goals in two minutes (20th and 21st) and they headed into hafltime with a 2-1 lead. Hari Krishna Das consolidated the lead for the winners with a 40th minute strike.
The school girls and college boys’semifinals will be played on Wednesday at the same ground.