Rajat Rathi’s hat-trick stars in Haryana’s NTSN title triumph
New Delhi, September 2: Haryana’s scoring machines Rajat Rathi, who scored a hat-trick, and Aayan Taragi found an extra gear the final half hour to slot in four goals in the team’s 5-2 victory over Bihar and claim the inaugural National Talent Search and Nurture football championship, conducted by the School Sports Promotion Foundation here today.
Jharkhand shared two goals with Madhya Pradesh in regulation time but won the third place play-off via the penalty shootout as curtain came down at the DDA CWG Village Sports Complex on the first season of India’s largest school-based sports programme. As many as 2100 schools across 21 States had registered for the cricket and football competitions.
After a long drawn midfield battle which Haryana controlled with a sensible approach, Rajat Rathi (Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok, Gurgaon) broke free with a sprint from the left to be able to receive a cross from the hard-working right winger Aayan Taragi (Scottish High, Gurgaon) and beat a diving Bihar goalkleeper Shubham Kumar Mishra with a superbly timed right footer.
Everyone was preparing for a grinding battle when Bihar responded through a delightful Nishant Chandra strike off a rebound from goalkeeper Aleef Rahman Mollah seven minutes into the second half. Despite the humidity, the teams did not concede an inch to the other and the match seemed evenly poised until a Bihar was broken by conceding a penalty kick in the 60th minute.
Haryana was invigorated after Rajat Rathi found the target to regain the lead. Ten minutes later he completed his hat-trick, deftly providing the finishing touches to creative work by Parwaaz Singh Gill and Aayan Taragi. The strapping Taragi scored twice in five minutes to put the outcome beyond doubt. A late goal off a free-kick by Satyam Kumar Yadav reduced the margin.
Earlier, Madhya Pradesh’s Anmol Soni cancelled the lead obtained by Jharkhand through Anil Toppo in the first half. After a goal-less second session, Jharkhand won the penalty shootout 2-1. Rohit Munda and Ankit Kumar found the target for Jharkhand while only Rohit Dhami was able to score from the spot.
School Sports Promotion Foundation Chairman Mr Om Pathak, its Treasurer Mr Anshul Pathak and DDA CWG Village Sports Complex Secretary SK Banerjee presented the medals and trophies.
Goal-keeper of the tournament: Aleef Rahman Mollah (Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok, Haryana). Player of the tournament: Raj Kishore Mahato (SS High School, Simdega, Jharkhand).