Shillong, Feb 5 : Mizoram and Punjab will lock horns to be crowned champions of the prestigious Hero Junior National Football Championship for the Dr BC Roy Trophy in the final, which will be held here in Meghalaya on Thursday. This will be the fourth time in five years for both the teams to clash in the finals.
Both the teams are confident to win the trophy. In their recent clashes in final Punjab won the Junior Nationals trophy in 2015-16 and 2016-17 but last year Mizoram reversed the tide and defeated Punjab in the title match 2-1. Both sides came through their semifinals with 1-0 victories; Mizoram against hosts Meghalaya and Punjab over West Bengal. "We respect Punjab but we will try our level best to beat them and I expect a beautiful game tomorrow," Mizoram manager Hmingsanga said at a pre-match press conference in the Meghalaya Football Association office. Hmingsanga added that Mizoram was lucky to play Meghalaya in the semis rather than in the final given that, as hosts, Meghalaya would have had tremendous levels of support.
Mizoram captain Lalpekhlua Jongte, meanwhile, described Meghalaya as the best team they have faced so far. "We request that the Mizo Students Union, Young Mizo Association and everyone else come and cheer us in the big final as they did in the semis," Hmingsanga said. Punjab, which is aiming for a win in the finals is expected to give a strong performance.
"We have one injured player but the rest of the team is strong and ready to give their best. Mizoram and Punjab are the best teams and they will give 100 per cent," Punjab manager Davinder Singh stated. Echoing his team manager, Punjab captain Mangminlun Singson echoed his manager, said, "We will try our best by standing together once more and playing as a team." In the renewal of their rivalry, Punjab will be banking on Seilanthang Lotjem, who has scored six of his side's nine goals in the competition so far.
Mizoram, meanwhile, has had several players contribute to their tally of eight goals and are thus less reliant on a single individual to score. Punjab have not conceded a goal in any of their four matches, while Mizoram did give up one to Delhi in the group stage but have otherwise kept clean sheets throughout. (UNI)