SILIGURI, March 7 (PTI) � Mizoram rode on both grit and luck to edge past Tamil Nadu 3-1 in extra time and book their maiden berth in the final of the 68th National Football Championships for the Santosh Trophy here today.
Some shoddy goalkeeping by Tamil Nadu custodian A Arun Pradeep coupled with a spirited second half display helped Mizoram rallied to get the better of Tamil Nadu in the first semifinals at the Kanchenjunga Stadium here.
Two-time finalists Tamil Nadu took the lead right at the stroke of half-time through A Reagan (45+1). But a rejuvenated Mizoram, aided by a goalkeeping gaffe, clawed back into the match courtesy a long range strike from substitute David Lalrinmuana (62nd minute) to take the match to extra time.
Two opportunistic strikes from Zico Zoremsanga (94th) and substitute F Lalrinpuia (119th) sealed the match in favour of Mizoram to the heartbreak of Tamil Nadu players.
Today�s victory was the fifth for high-flying Mizoram in the final round of the competition and eight if the qualifying round matches are taken into consideration.
Tamil Nadu goalkeeper Pradeep was at fault during both the equaliser and the second goal of Mizoram. He failed to collect a harmless long range effort from 35 yards from substitute David Lalrinmuana. The ball bounced in front of the custodian, who misjudged the flight completely, and then rolled into the Tamil Nadu net.
He then mistimed his jump inside the six yard area in the extra time to hand Mizoram the lead.
Sports Reporter adds: In the 2nd semifinal, Indian Railways beat Maharashtra by an aggregate of 6-4 goals via tie-breaker. In regulation time, the match ended 1-1. Now Indian Railways will take on Mizoram on March 9.