IMPHAL, August 25: Lamminthang Touthang of ESU, Wangkhei scored the first hattrick of the 7th Manipur State League enroute to defeat SSU, Singjamei by 3-2 today at the Mapal Kangjeibung.
In an equally match second ground play, Lamminthang scored all the three goals for his newly promoted ESU team.
ESU had been relegated after the 5th edition of the MSL, and has been newly relegated this year.
SSU which boasted of several senior and well known players were humbled by the spirited youth brigade of the newly promoted ESU team.
The scoreline of the match at the end of the first half was almost the opposite of the scoreline at the end, with SSU leading the match by 2-0 at one point of the first half.
The first goal was scored by Yumnam Somendro of SSU in the 10th minute with L Gogocha adding another in the 26th minute for SSU.
Lamminthang scored the first of his hattrick in the 34th minute.
He added another two in the second half in the 77th and the 80th minute of the match, singlehandedly snatching the win from previous edition’s fifth position holder SSU.
The match produced another first of the league when T Nanao of ESU was sent off the ground in the last minute of the match after receiving double caution during the match. He was first cautioned in the 65th minute and later again in the 90+4 minute, which sent him out of the match.
Three other players of the club including the scorer were also cautioned during the match. Three other of the losing side were also awarded the yellow card.
Meanwhile, in the first ground match of the day, AIM, Khabam Lamkhai defeated last year’s first runners’ up MPSC by a lone goal.
N Jimmy headed home a crossing pass from L Ratan to score the only gaol on the match in the 48th minute.
MPSC players had several chances to equalise the score however, the team’s strikers were unable to convert any.
Three AIM players and one MPSC player were cautioned during the match.
It may be mentioned that AIM had been the 2nd runners’ up in last year’s edition.
In his post-match briefing, AIM coach W Khogen said MPSC is not an easy opponent; however he is quite happy with today’s result. He added that his team main aim this year would be to lift up the trophy.
He said he had asked his defenders to watch out and mark MPSC strikers Golmei and I Nilakumar.
Another difficult match would be against TRAU, he said.
He further appealed to the referees to be careful in officiating a crucial and high voltage match like today’s.
In a serious allegation, the AIM team captain Ngouba said the MPSC players used psychological tactics during the match which could lead to arguments amongst the players.
Meanwhile, MPSC coach, Kh Sanaton said the absence of his right back, Makulung and left back Maringmei affected today’s match a lot. The two had to seat out for the match due to injuries.
Their absence weakened his defence, the coach added.
He further expressed his believed that the two would be fit for the remaining matches.
Lamenting the heavy schedule of the league championship, he said lengthening the gap between matches could do a lot of good for the teams playing in the league.