Lancine Toure scored two brilliant headers in the Warriors’ win over Aizawl.
On a sunny day in Mizoram, Minerva Punjab took away all three points against Aizawl FC to bag their first win of the ongoing I-League season. Lancine Toure scored wonderful headers from two set-pieces for the defending champions, while Leonce Dodoz converted from the penalty spot for the home side.
The result means Gift Raikhan’s side are without a win in four games, while the reigning champions have a win, a draw and a loss each in their three games played. Here are the talking points from the game.
5. Defensive woes continue for Aizawl
Aizawl’s poor start to the campaign continued as they were rocked by a much stronger Minerva attack. Although, the former I-League champions showed some beautiful attacking glimpses, their defence was shambolic. Govin Singh and Kareem Omolaja had a hard time handling the on-fire Donatus Edafe. At right-back, Hmingthan Mawia caused many problems as well, as he gave away possession too quick at times and also made some poor clearances.
During set-pieces too, Toure was left unmanned one too many times, especially during corners. Of those, the Minerva defender managed to head past the goalkeeper on two occasions.
4. Opoku and Edafe crucial for Minerva in attack
William Opoku and Donatus Edafe were on song as they paired up well to provide nightmares to the Aizawl defence. The former was involved more in creating chances in the attacking third, while the latter made some outstanding runs through the opposition defence.
It is a shame that he couldn’t get onto the scoresheet after such a brilliant performance. Nevertheless, he got an assist with a corner, as Toure headed the ball in to score his first goal of the game. He could also have got another assist in the second half, when he provided a great chance for Akash Sangwan, but the winger missed the target. Meanwhile, Opoku, too, managed to get an assist for Toure’s second goal from a corner.
3. Akash Sangwan- The rising star of Minerva
Akash Sangwan was introduced early on in the 35th minute of the game, as he replaced the injured Moinuddin Khan. The 23-year-old paired up well with Edafe upfront. It was a good game for Sangwan overall and with Moinuddin injured, he might be picked more frequently in the starting lineup.
It would be a great opportunity for the young man as he has shown some glimpses that he can deliver for the team.
2. Alfred Jaryan steps up for Aizawl
Alfred Jaryan stepped up his game for underperforming Aizawl and Raikhan must be very grateful for his display, especially in the first half. Jaryan was the key man in the midfield as he distributed the ball well, which led to some good chances for the team.
The Liberian midfielder who has previously played for Mumbai FC and Mohammedan Sporting had a great influence on the game and was the only link between defence and attack.
1. Lancine Toure stole the show for Minerva
Toure was Minerva’s most dangerous ‘attacker’ of the game as he came close to scoring a hat-trick of headed goals. Always a threat during corners and other set-piece situations, he won five headers inside the box and managed to score on two occasions. He could easily have scored another in the second half, but his effort scraped over the crossbar.
Toure was also good in defence, but was shown a yellow card early in the second half for an unnecessary foul. His Hero of the Match performance for the Warriors was a delight as he helped earn the much-needed win for his team.