I-League 2023-24: Lalrinzuala hat-trick help Aizawl FC dominate NEROCA
Tarak Hembram scored the only goal for NEROCA
Tarak Hembram gave hosts NEROCA the lead in the first half, but a supreme show by Aizawl’s hat-trick hero Lalrinzuala put the People’s Club firmly in control of the game by the end.
NEROCA were on the back foot from the start, but were managing the Aizawl attack well. However the hosts took the lead a little over the half hour mark through a blitzkrieging counter attack.
Nongamba Singh won the ball on the left, and with his second touch, played it to Haidar Awada, who in turn laid it off to Fabrien Reid. The Jamaican also took just a solitary touch to put it into the path of Hembram on the right, who drilled it into the bottom corner.
Aizawl came out with determination and intent in the second half, and were rewarded for their persistence just over the hour mark. Laldanmawia’s cross from the left caused some confusion in the NEROCA ranks as goalkeeper Soram Poirei came off his line. However, he made a complete mess of the situation, miscuing his punch, as the ball landed to Lalrinzuala, who poked it into an empty net.
Lalrinzuala played it smart, and made sure that he was available in the right place, at the right time. The same bit of opportunism earned Aizawl their second goal of the game. Substitute Lalbiakdika, with less than 10 minutes of regulation time left, produced some quick feet on the left flank, and sent in a hard, low cross between NEROCA’s defensive lines. Lalrinzuala merely had to get his foot onto the ball, and so he did with much glee.
The side from Mizoram sealed the deal deep in injury time, when Lalbiakdika danced his way into the box from the left, before being brought down by Mono Singh. As the referee pointed to the spot, the players of the People’s Club unanimously pointed to Lalrinzuala, gesturing him to step up to the spot. The latter was only happy to do so, as he sent Poirei the wrong way, and put the game beyond all doubt.
With this win, Aizawl climb to the fourth spot on the I-League table with six points, just one behind title contenders Sreenidi Deccan, who have played a match more. NEROCA remain in the relegation spot at 12th, with a solitary point.