Sikkim has secured its berth in the semi-final round of the ongoing T Ao North East Football Championship at IG Stadium in Nagaland capital Kohima.
Sikkim defeated a strong contender, Mizoram 2-1 in its last match in the league round of the tournament under floodlights on Saturday evening.
Sikkim has finished the league round as the group topper of group-B with seven points from two wins and one draw to enter into the semi-final round of the tournament.
Sonam Tshering Bhutia in the 18th minute and Dawa Sherpa in the 22nd minute scored crucial goals to land Sikkim into the semi-final round of the tournament.
P C Laldinpuia scored a goal for Mizoram in the injury time of the first half but it was not enough to stop Sikkim to become the group topper.
Mizoram secured six points from two wins and one loss to finish the group stage on the second position in group B.
Sikkim will take on Arunachal Pradesh in the semi-final match on January 27, while another semi-final will be played between Mizoram and Nagaland on the same day.
The final match is scheduled to be played on January 28 next.
Sikkim team coach-cum-player, Mayal Dok Lepcha stated that the match was very crucial for the team to enter into the semi-final round of the tournament.
“Although a draw could also take us in the semi-finals but the team entered into the field with winning mindset to finish the group stage as the topper,” he said.
“Our boys played a very good game and are in high spirit and confidence for the semi-final match after defeating Mizoram which has been considered as one of the strongest team in the tournament,” he expressed.
He further said Saturday’s crucial win also shows a strong presence of Sikkim in the tournament.
Likewise, Sikkim team manager, Arjun Rai also appreciated the team discipline and strong game shown by Sikkim players in all matches in the tournament till date.
He further expressed that the team was all set to give a good fight to its opponent in the semi-final match.