CHANDIGARH, MAY 18 :The Punjab Under-21 fooballers have given performance in the recently concluded Under-21 National Football Championship for Dutta Ray Trophy at Goa as they snatched an exciting 3-2 verdict against plucky Mizoram in the finals on May 16.According to Punjab Football Association secretary Arjuna Awardee Inder Singh, Jagatjit Cotton Textile Mills Assistant coach Kuldip Singh, who has recently undergone AFC B Licence Coaching Course, guided Punjab to the victory podium. JCT’s goalkeer Pawan Kumar was the captain of Punjab team.
Congratulating the team, Inder Singh said "It is worth mentioning that Punjab team did not lose even a single game in the entire competition."
In the preliminary round (Cluster- III) matches Punjab beat Orissa by 4-1 on May 1, Manipur by 2-0 on May 3, to qualify for the quarterfinal league.
In quarterfinal league (Group–B) matches, Punjab maintained their winning spree as Punjab went on to beat Meghalaya team by 3-2 on May 7, Kerala by 6-0 on May 9, and drew against Haryana 1-1 on May 11, thus entered semifinal as Group B winners.
In semi-final, Punjab met strong title contenders West Bengal and eked out a narrow 1-0 win on May 14. In the final, Punjab faced formidable Mizoram. The spirited boys from Punjab did not lose hope and confidence and went on to beat Mizoram team by 3-2 on May 16.
It was virtually a JCT Academy team which represented Punjab in the Under-21 National competition. JCT Academy’s reliable strikers Ajay Singh (9 goals), Vijay Kumar (5) combined well with the midfielders Maninder Singh (3) and Gurpreet Singh (2) to clinch the National title for Punjab.
Punjab last won the title in 2003-04 championship beating West Bengal 4-1 while had been runners-up at Guwahati in 2006-07 championship and lost the finals to West Bengal 1-0 at Jamalpur in 2005-06 championship.
Congratulating the victorious Punjab Under-21 team, Punjab Sports Director Pargat Singh said "the did Punjab proud by winning the trophy. It was the result of a team work, including officials."