Manglenthang Kipgen The Hero As 90th Minute Strike Seals 2-1 Victory Against Young Champs
A 90th minute strike from Manglenthang Kipgen saw RoundGlass Punjab FC crowned champions of the U18 JSW Youth Cup, at the JSW Township, with a 2-1 win over Reliance Foundation Young Champs in the final. Earlier, Supratim Das’ first-half header had given RFYC the lead, only for Avaneesh Kamath’s own goal (78’) and Kipgen’s free-kick (90’) to inspire a comeback for the side from Punjab.
The Young Champs were in full throttle in the first half, creating the first chance of the game straight from kick-off, with a cross coming in for Rashid CK. The striker’s first-time effort went over the crossbar. RFYC continued to pile the pressure by putting in dangerous balls into the 18 yard-box from set-pieces and open play.
RFYC found the opener past the half-hour mark when Supratim found himself at the end of a cross in the box, leaping highest to nod home from close range. RoundGlass responded immediately after Konsam Singh’s shot deflected off a Reliance defender and rattled the crossbar. The Young Champs held their composure and kept the lead into the break.
Konsam Singh was in the thick of the action once again in the opening stages of the second half, attempting an acrobatic shot which found the side netting on 50 minutes. RPFC pushed for the equalizer, which finally came when Tekchem Abhishek Singh’s cross was put into the back of his own net by RFYC defender Avaneesh, whose attempted clearance was wayward.
With the game heading into injury time, RPFC won a free-kick just outside the 18-yard-box for an infringement. Kipgen, whose movements had caused problems all evening for the Young Champs, smacked a shot goalward that had too much on it and was fumbled by Malhar Mohol in the Young Champs’ goal, spilling it over the line to give the hosts the lead.
The referee’s final whistle saw RoundGlass Punjab FC crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the U18 JSW Youth Cup. Earlier, a strike from Lalthangliana had handed Bengaluru FC a 1-0 win in the third-place match, against Dempo SC at the same venue.