In a thrilling encounter, North East club Aizawl FC defeated Churchill Brothers 3-1 to go back to top of the league table. . .
Kamo Bayi Stephen’s brace (7′, 46′) and a late goal by Laldanmawia Ralte (85′) proved enough for Aizawl FC to gain all three points from the Tilak Maidan in Goa to put more pressure on Mohun Bagan for their second I-League title in three years.
Although Anthony D’Souza (69′) pulled one back in the second-half, the highlanders sealed it off in the later stage when the Mizo youngster L’danmawia nailed the final one.
Incidentally, the Red machines handed the Mariners their first defeat at the same venue a few weeks before to halt their unbeaten run in the Hero I-League 2016-17. Nonetheless, Aizawl FC go atop the table with the magnificent win, at least for another 90 minutes, until the full-time whistle at the Guru Nanak Stadium where Minerva Punjab FC host Mohun Bagan later today.
Churchill fans could have had an elated opening but Chesterpoul’s header crashed into the woodwork in the third minute.
Aizawl FC drew the first blood early in the seventh minute when the Liberia striker Stephen Kamo Bayi poked it wisely between Naveen Kumar’s legs following a misunderstanding between Meldon and Adil.
Brandon and Meldon combined well from the flanks to build up the attacks which latched onto the Aizawl FC 18-yard box copious times but eventually failed to hit the target.
After the changeover, even before the spectators could settle in, Stephen Kamo Bayi was spot on to rack his tally to 7 goals this season.
Derrick Periera’s boys sensed some urgency and responded well. With the introductions of Anthony Fernandes and Gabriel Fernandes, the Goan outfit showed some real positive intent to make a comeback into the game.
Just at the stroke of the 70th minute, Anthony Wolfe latched on a marvellous run from the middle of the pitch and finally made an inch-perfect pass to Anthony Fernandes who breached the Aizawl FC defence, finally, to put some life into the game.
After the goal, Churchill Brothers FC Goa flooded the Aizawl FC box with a flurry of attacks. In the 77th minute, Albino Gomes made an acrobatic save to deny Gabriel Fernandes an equaliser.
Towards the end of the game, when Churchill opted to go all-out in their quest for the elusive equaliser, L’Danmawia Ralte sprinted almost 30 yards to finally net the third one for the Mizo-outfit, which took them to 33 points from 16 matches.
Now Khalid Jamil’s troop will gear up to take on Mohun Bagan in their final Hero I-League home game this season on April 22, which would eventually prove to be an absolute show-stopper in terms of deciding the fate of Hero I-League 2016-17.