MORIGAON, Jan 22 � Assam qualified from the North East Zone for the final round of the 69th Senior National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy to be played at Jharkhand.
In the final group A match of the zonal tournament at the Khirod Baruah Stadium here today, Assam defeated fancied Manipur by a clear margin of 2-0 goals and topped the group with nine points. After a barren first session of the keenly contested encounter, Suraj Mandal struck twice in the 55th and 67th minutes respectively.
Suraj opened the account with a solo effort as he dribbled past at least three opponent defenders before firing home. He again made a valiant effort and cruised into the goal area with the ball. But he was brought down inside the box and the referee whistled for a spot kick. Suraj himself took the shot and made no mistake in converting.
In other match of the day, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland settled for a 1-1 draw. Pami Raju (35th minute) and Saku Tenjam (45th minute, penalty) were the goal scorers for Arunachal and Nagaland respectively.
In the final group league match tomorrow Mizoram will play against Meghalaya and the winner will qualify for the next stage.