The clubs are now placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
Aizawl FC and Churchill Brothers Goa settled for a 1-1 draw in the I-League 2022–23 match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
In an intense encounter, both the teams excelled in their defensive performances but also missed chances that came their way. Both goals came in the first half – while Anil Rama Goalkar put Churchill ahead in the 19th minute, R Lalthanmawia equalised for the home team four minutes later.
The second half was a combination of missed chances and strong defending by both sides, resulting in the deadlock. The earlier match between the two teams also ended in a draw. The game, however, ended on a sour note for Churchill Brothers as their foreign recruit Martin Chaves received a red card in the final minutes.
Aizawl FC started the game brightly with Ivan Veras creating quick and intelligent moves around the six-yard box. He had a couple of chances to put his team ahead early in the match, but failed to convert them. In the ninth minute, Churchill’s Anil Rama Gaonkar made a solo run from his own area and provided a pass for Emmanuel Yaghr in the final third, who managed to beat the Aizawl goalkeeper, but a goalline clearance by Akito Saito saved the day for Churchill.
Seven minutes later, Rama Gaonkar found Lalawmpuia Sailo near the penalty spot, but the midfielder’s shot was saved by Aizawl goalkeeper Vikram Lahkbir Singh. However, in the 19th minute, Rama Gaonkar broke the deadlock by tapping the ball past Lakhbir Singh after receiving a cross from the left by Sailo, who had beaten his marker and sent a cross from the left wing.
Aizawl responded quickly, equalising just four minutes later from a corner kick. Midfielder R Lalthanmawia received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and placed his shot perfectly into the bottom corner of the net. The remainder of the first half saw Martin Chaves go close to scoring in the 28th minute, while at the half-hour mark, Lakhbir Singh saved a powerful shot from Sailo. A minute later, Lakhbir Singh was again called into action, this time making amends for his mistake by denying Emmanuel from point-blank range after giving the ball away initially.
The second period saw both teams display caution in the first 15 minutes. However, past the hour mark, it became an end-to-end affair. In the 61st minute, Aizawl’s goalscorer Lalthanmawia sent a cross from the left and after a deflection, it reached R. Ramdinthara inside the six-yard box, but Churchill’s Vanlal Duatsanga’s last-ditch resulted in saving the situation.
At the other end, Emmanuel had a chance to score five minutes later but lost his balance at a crucial moment, while Aizawl substitute Henry Kisekka wasted a sitter inside the six-yard box in the 68th minute.
In the added time, Chaves was shown a second yellow card for misconduct after arguing with the referee Umesh Bora, leaving Churchill Brothers with ten men for the remainder of the encounter. While Churchill now have 30 points from 21 matches, Aizawl have 25 points.
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