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I-League 2017 FULL TIME: Aizawl FC 1-0 Mohun Bagan

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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Hope you had fun. Thanks for tuning in. You can read the match report soon and other insights on football on Khel Now. The final week will be so, so interesting! Good bye friends. 

THE DREAM IS ALIVE FOR THE REDS. ZOTEA scored his second goal as Aizawl FC have their one hand on the trophy! Brilliant game of football. Superb attitude from both teams. That's the beauty of Indian football. Rane, Al Amna and Jaryan with another superb performance. Sehnaj was immense in the midfield, with Anas and Eduardo doing the needful. 

THEY'VE WON IT!

90+3' Norde sends a long ball in, but Gomes clears it out. morde makes another run, crosses it as Das heads it out! BALWANT TRIES THE HAND OF GOD! and is given the yellow card! Gomes taking his time. 

90+2' MB keeping possession but Aizawl clearing it with ease almost. The pressing from the visitors should be higher up the pitch. Throw in from Chullova as he Alna heads it on. another attack from Aizawl.

90+1' AIZAWL BREAK WELL AFTER A GOOD QUALITY CLEARANCE WITH AL AMNA and Jayesh! Should've been a better final pass into the MB box. Throw in to MB as Mehta clears an attack. 

90' Into the final minute. Das tries to cross it, but is blocked well. Corner for the visitors. They must try and pull back one. 

ZOHMINGLIANA RALTE IS THE MAN OF THE MATCH!
DANMAWIA makes space for Tuanpuia. 

88' Baye Kamo with a high foot, gives a foul and possession away. Duffy wins a throw on the left wing. Gaikwad can be the key here! Long throw, well cleared by Mehta. 

87' Good thing, Aizawl are still attacking brilliantly.Muankima brings down Eduardo as they get a free kick. Norde running but Mehta calls for excitement from the fans with a brilliant tackle. 

86' Eduardo pegs back Al Amna and gets a yellow. Had to stop the counter for the team. Amna has been devastating today! 

85' Kotal with a long throw as MB try to throw everything at the home team. Balwant on for Jeje with six minutes of regulation time left. 

83' GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! ZOTEA RALTE DOES IT FOR THE HOME SIDE! AL AMNA took the corner kick and placed it to the far post. Brilliant scenes! 

81' Rane with another corner as Kingsley fouls an MB player. Debjit with the kick. Aizawl FC have a free kick with Al Amna attacking. Prabir Das helps it out for a corner. 

80' Sehnaj with another heavy touch losses possession. Anas concedes a corner as Baye and Kima combine to create something. Kima tries to create something after Rane plays it short to him.

79' 11 last minutes! Which player can score it now? Both teams trying hard as Das cross to Katsumi, who heads it just over.

78' Al Amna wins possession for the hosts. and plays it out to Rane. Rane tries a little too much and pushes it out. Good positive attitude from the players throughout the game. 

77' Sehnaj plays a brilliant ball to Das on the right wing, who keeps it it. Jeje tries to head it, but is cleared. Jeje and Duffy not attacking enough. Balwant can help things to spice up for the visitors. 

75' Gomes with a back kick as Kotal's throw in has more power than expected. Goes out. Aizawl back with possession.home hoem team has easily been better in the second half. LALMUANKIMA comes on for Brandon.

74' Debjit with the long kick. Jaryan heads it down but Aizawl have possession but Rane losses it with a back heel. The defence gets it back as Aizawl have possession again! 

73' The free kick is puched clear by the heavily matured Gomes! Class from both Norde and Gomes. Attack from Aizawl ans the fans cheer and go crazy in the last 20 minutes. Flag goes up against Kamo Baye. 

72' Gomes clears it long. Zotea heads it but is called a foul by the ref. Norde standing over the free kick. 

70' Brilliant link up play as Al Amna, Jaryan and Brandon play it out in the MB half. Kamo Baye wins a throw for his team on the right. Mehta throws it to baye, who's dispossessed. 

69'  The game is rightly drifted in the midfield. Whichever team plays that well, it'll be better, Mehta tackles Norde poorly on the left, gets a yellow straight! Apologises. Good attitude. 

68' Aizawl attack again with Al Amna exchanging passes with Brandon and Jayesh. 

66' Rane scoops it into the box but is defended well. Sehnaj is blocked as MB win another free kick. The Punjab midfielder is receiving some treatment. 

65' Aizawl must not switch off in defence now, as MB know how to score late goals. By that virtue, they might be the Manchester United of India! Gaikwad throws in another, flicked on by an MB attacker, but Gomes collects it easily. Al Amna is fouled poorly by Sehnaj. 

65' Albino with a goal kick as Gaikwad shoots wide from far. 

64' PRABIR DAS COMES ON FOR AZHARUDDIN MALLICK. The derby hero has had a poor game. 

63' Debjit clears. Jaryan heads. MB regain possession in the middle of the pitch. Norde has come in centrally. Zotea blocks the through ball from Norde for Gaikwad. 

62' Counter from Aizawl. Al Amna runs atleast 60 yards, plays it well to Brandon, who cuts it back from the left wing, but is cleared by Sehnaj. 

61' Darryl Duffy gets a yellow for a raised foot on Chullova. Aizawl back in possession but MB resist and attack. Mallick twisting and turning on the right wing. 

59' Free kick to Aizawl as Rane is blocked by Sehnaj, Chullova with the ball in. Anas defends well. MB break well with Jeje but is blocked by Jaryan well. Al Amna shoots from distance, blocked. Great action on!

57' SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GOAL! Danmawia should've got it on target as Aizawl make a great move. Al Amna controls a ball into the box and manages to brings it down.

56' MB break and try to play it to Duffy, but the pass is too heavy, Norde cuts in  and shoots but is off target. Rane's corner was good, but the defending was terrific. 

55' The shape of Aizawl FC has been brilliant. Eduardo clears a long ball from Laldanmawia. Rane on it. 

54' Mehta with another throw in as Anas clears the attack. Aizawl playing much higher up the pitch. Rane misses possession. 

53' Norde with another run but Mehta tackles well. Aizawl get a throw in on the right. Jayesh receives it from Mehta. Rane threads it to Brandon. Aizawl with another throw in as Raju clears out. 

51' Jaryan sees yellow as he brings down Duffy pulling his shirt. Deserved card to the home captain. Discipline should be prevailing in the game. 

50' Amna rounds off Eduardo, crosses to Rane, who controls it on the chest, gets it down and lets it fly. Saved by Debjit. Initial momentum with Aizawl. 

49' Amna tries a delightful throughball as Brandon runs for it. Best chance for Aizawl so far but Debjit collects well. Al Amna nutmegs Eduardo, but clears it somehow. 

48' The passion is back, and so is the energy. The teams have changed ends and Duffy looks a lot serious in his approach. Aizawl attacking with added fervour. 

FIRST HALF REVIEW: Good game, with non-footballing issues taking centrestage. Poor visibility in bad weather conditions as both teams try to attack amidst strong defensive structures. Duffy got the only clear chance early on, and the final passes have been missing ever since. Both teams need to calm down and play with the ball down on the feet. Aizawl, in particular, need to slow the physical side of the game. Be with us as we go into the half time break. BE BACK SOON! 

45+4' Another free kick for MB as Kingsley pushes Duffey. Yusa takes it! Jaryan clears it with confusion between him and Sehnaj. End of the first half in a questionable scenario. 

45+3' Aizawl try a long throw by Chullova as Al Amna and Jayesh play it out on the left wing. Jaryan with a long shot as the ball is brought down by Brandon in the centre of the pitch. Good football from the Reds. 

45' 4 MINUTES OF ADDED TIME AFTER A COUPLE OF STOPPAGES FOR VISIBILITY! Bagan will try to convert their chances and improve their game in the final third in the second half. Meanwhile, Jeje brings down Kingsley. Freekick, Aizawl's way!

44' Aizawl win an attacking throw as Eduardo helps it out to block Kamo Baye. Al Amna tries an overhead kick from 30 yards but is weak. MB regain possession.

43' Norde with a good ball in but is cleared. Sehnaj comes to shoot it but flies over. Good impetus by MB again as Albino kicks it into the air. Another foul for MB in their half as Aizawl play it out physically. 

42' Norde is tackled from behind by Zotea. Free kick to MB. Norde trying for cards as he and Yusa talk to the ref. 

40' Norde is not being allowed any space, as the Haitian is again dispossessed by Mehta. Jaryan, now brings him down as Norde wants the ref to take out a card.

39' Kotal wins a throw on the right but Amnah regains possession. Jayesh plays it back to Amna, who back heels to Rane. Rane shoots it from far, but is wide. 

36' Debjit collects an Aizawl attack as MB regain possession. Brilliant game so far. Raju with a long ball to Jeje, the striker tries to shoot but is wide by a interception. Players taking potshots from distance now. Norde wins a corner. 

35' Good tackles in the centre of the park as Sehnaj fights it out with Rane and Al Amnah. MB have the possession. Jeje tries to head a long ball in the path of Duffey, but is not with power. 

33' There's fog all around! I wonder if the game will be paused, or will the referee make wrong decisions? For now, it continues goalless but with huge chances. 

31' Amnah breaks forward on the right wing. Break Gaikwad easily on the right, crosses, but is collected well by the in-form Majumder. 

Aizawl FC players drink water as the weather plays a role. Such humid situations can be very tiring and the water can make your legs heavy, I tell you! There has been some crowd trouble as well, and the game has been called for a break. 

28' Jaryan blocks a ball and plays it out for a throw as Gaikwad tries to find him from a throw. Jeje is frustated by his close control as he lets a ball go out. Visibility decreasing, yet again! 

27' Rane tries to play a through to Baye, but is stopped by Anas. Jeje battling it against Zotea and Mehta on the left wing as Aizawl win another free kick. 

26' Gaikwad with a long throw, Al Amna clears. Counter for Aizawl. as they win a throw. Al Amna brings down Norde as MB got a free kick. 

25' MB with a back kick. Zotea Ralte heads it out over Jeje. Gaikwad with his hand powers again, throws in. 

23' Gomes with a long kick as Aizawl got a free kick. Possession back with the Reds. Baye tries to make a run, but Sehnaj defends brilliantly. Gaikwad attacks Mehta as he tackles MB's Norde. 

22' Yusa plays a through to Norde, who cuts back to Duffy. The Scot cannot make a connection as the ball is defended well. Raju with another throw in. 

21'Jaryan is brought down by Jeje but the referee says nothing happening. Aizawl win a goal kick as Lalramchullova saves the forward pass well. 

20' Mehta closed down by Norde as he tries to pass it ahead. We've seen very little possession football but a lot of directness. 

19' Aizawl FC's key midfielders Amnah, Jaryan and Rane interlink to regain momentum as they control the midfield well. Gomes on the ball as it is headed back by Jaryan under pressure.  

17' The visibility is back and the possession is back with the visitors too. Duffy cannot control a long throw as Raju continues to throw it long. Norde plays across pitch pass to Mallick. 

16' Aizawl come again as the ball breaks nicely for the attackers. Visibility is lessening with the passage of time. Danmawia coasted past Raju and shoots, but just over. MB and Aizawl have shared the chances till now. What an attacking game this has been so far. No team has sat back. 

15' Goal kick to Aizawl after Jeje cannot control a long ball well. 

14' Aizawl defend well again as Kingsley does not provides any space to Duffy to receive the long kick. 

13' Jayesh gets the ball around the 6 yard box. Header from Mehta, but is wide. Wonder why the right back was left free. 

11'  It is getting foggy at the Stadium. The free kick was blocked by the wall and was collected by Albino Gomes. Aizawl win a free kick in the centre of the pitch. Tremendous action going on in the match. Difficult conditions but both teams concentrate well on the football. Aizawl win another corner. 

10' Norde, Sehnaj and Katsumi all interested! What a moment in the game it can be if MB score!

09' Al Amna play it out to Brandon, Katsumi blocks and is brought down. Free kick to the visitors. Free kick to MB in a good area as Jeje is brought down. Can Norde do it again like he broke East Bengal? 

08' Rane plays out four midfielders and plays a good through, but to no avail. Kamo goes again, shoots, but Debjit is alert and smothers it well. 

07' Sehnaj played his role to perfection as his pushes the ball out with a touch from Laldanmawia. 

06' Brilliant corner but cleared well by Kamo Baye. Gaikwad with another long throw. Anas brings Kamo Baye down. Free kick to Aizawl. Mehta with a long ball but Anas clears it brilliantly. 

05' Corner to MB as Gaikwad's long throw is cleared out. Norde will be interested to make a good account. 

03' Rane couldn't make the best connection as the ball is blocked. Norde brilliantly finds Duffy with a through ball and tries to place it under Gomes, who makes a brilliant save! Ohhhh. . What a beginning for the visitors. Calms the home fans a little. 

02' Amnah combines with Brandon and Baye to take the ball ahead. Amnah and Norde fight it out on the right wing for Aizawl. Free kick to Aizawl! Jayesh standing over it and the home team are being brillinantly cheered.

01' Off we go! It is raining and the picturesque Rajiv Gandhi Stadium looks wonderful with the artificial turf. A sloppy beginning as the ball goes from end to end. 

00' Jeje standing on the ball, with his final prayers. Thrilling for him, as he readies himself to break his native Mizo hearts!

Teams are getting their photographs in the game which can decide their fates this season! 
Interesting stat: Aizawl have scored 12 and conceded just 2 at their home, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Aizawl win the toss and take the side. MB ready to kick it from right to left.

02:03 PM: Such brilliant scenes. Both teams look so positive for victory. We are in for a delicious game! The teams haven't played any draws in the last four encounter! MB won the last two! Jeje and Jayesh are lovely lads as they embrace while handshakes. The area is filled with chants! Ohhhh the scenes! 

The rain in the noon will help lower down the temperatures and might add a little to the humidity. Good conditions, for sure! Novy Kapadia, Pulasta Dhar and here, Punit Tripathi are sure to take fans through an enormous game! Stay with us. . .  

02:00 PM: Both teams walk out on the pitch! What an affair this is got to be. That extra feel is provided by the National Anthem. The fans have filled up the numbers, and the stands are overflowing. If there's something you want to read, this is IT! Best thing for Indian football. A great game lined up. Stay tuned. 

The hardworking Balwant Singh will surely come in at some stage of the game! Aizawl FC have fielded the same XI which has done it time and again! What a game this is going to be. . . You can give your predictions in the comments section below. My prediction: 2-1 Aizawl FC!

01:40 PM: Starting XI Aizawl XI: Gomes, Kingsley, Ralte, Amna, Rane, Jaryan, Chullova, Vanlalremdika, Kamo, Mehta

Mohun Bagan XI: Gaikwad, Duffy, Yusa, Lalpekhlua, Eduardo, Kotal, Debjit, Norde, Sehnaj, Mallick, Anas

The upcoming match between Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan is being counted as the title deciding match this year...

As the 10th edition of the Hero I-League comes to an end, the league is still undecided and is ripe for the grabs for the top two of the table. After four long months, Mohun Bagan has managed to grab the top spot on the table for themselves while they are sharing the spoils with Mizo outfit Aizawl FC, who had lost their top spot to Mohun Bagan with a defeat against defending champions Bengaluru FC. 

It has been two inspiring stories altogether for both these teams since the beginning of the season, one of which portrays the never say never attitude while another displays a fairy tale of the resilience of a bunch of relegation battlers to title contenders. Considering all the known facts and figures, let’s find out the unknown hurdles these two teams had to overcome to reach the pinnacle of the Indian football pyramid this season.

Matchday One: As it began

The I-League 2016-17 started as a matter of life and death for the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan while it began as another season to survive in the Indian top flight for Highlanders Aizawl FC. Mohun Bagan had missed out on the I-League title in the previous season to Bengaluru FC for a mere two points, which in turn resulted in fans’ unrest and decreased morale among the Mariners’ players. Bagan head coach Sanjoy Sen had won the title the season before and had missed out on the second consecutive league title. 

This meant a huge blow for the century-old club, however, instead of breaking down in despair, the Green and Maroons strengthened their squad and started a new season afresh in the hope of reclaiming lost glory. The first match day saw Mohun Bagan defeat an inexperienced Churchill Brothers with a late goal at home. The fact that veteran striker Balwant Singh emerged as the lone scorer of the match after missing out of an entire year to injury helped to boost the Bagan players’ confidence, of which the result took effects for the games to come.

On the other hand, Aizawl FC, who concluded the 2014-15 season as relegation battlers in the 8th position, had appointed Mumbai FC head coach Khalid Jamil as the head coach of the club. Jamil, who had made a name for himself as a tough nut to crack in the league while being at the helm of his former club took a huge risk in his career as he took up the Aizawl FC job leaving an ambitious project such as Mumbai FC. 

The supporters of Aizawl FC have been tremendous this season and have helped the team in many a come-backs

However, luck turned for both Jamil and Aizawl, who overcame a gigantic task in the opening game against league giants East Bengal by drawing the match 1-1 and stealing one valuable away point. Aizawl displayed a beautiful brand of football in the fixture and scored early in the game but due to inexperience amongst their ranks, were forced to concede a late goal but left the pitch with their heads high. This started a new era for the Mizo club, which would later go on to be table toppers and title contenders in the process.

Match day five: A dark day

After the win in the first game week, Mohun Bagan picked up the pace rather quickly as they defeated Shillong Lajong, Minerva Punjab FC and Chennai City FC in the next three league fixtures, scoring eight goals in the process and conceding only one. Things got smooth for the Mariners, life became lighter at the club house but the fun times came to a halt when an overachieving Mohun Bagan side experienced a goalless draw against Dave Rogers’ DSK Shivajians side. Rogers deployed a brilliant defensive strategy against Mohun Bagan, completely nullifying the right wing, upon which Bagan depended mostly on creating the counter attacks, solo runs and cutting edge crosses for Darryl Duffy upfront. However, Sanjoy Sen took it rather sportingly and went on winning the first leg of AFC Cup Qualifier against Colombo FC in Sri Lanka with a score line of 1-2.

The Scottish striker will have to play a decisive role if the visiting Mariners want to win the game against resolute-defenders Aizawl FC

The league took a rather nasty turn for Aizawl FC on the same game week as the Highlanders were defeated by league newcomers Chennai City FC with a score line of 2-0. This urged Khalid Jamil to keep the rhythm in check. Chennai City FC, who displayed a counterattacking strategy against Aizawl took the best out of a rather young Aizawl defence. The visitors presented a dismal performance upfront as the Aizawl forwards kept wasting chances which led them to suffer the first major blow in the season.

Matchday Seven: Story of mixed feelings

This game week displayed one of the best league fixtures this year as Mohun Bagan hosted Aizawl FC in a goal fest. Both the teams showed an attacking brand of football. Bagan’s Scottish marksman Darryl Duffy scored an early goal in the second minute of the match and took the lead. Despite an early lead by Mohun Bagan, the first half ended 1-1, courtesy of a pinpoint strike by Jayesh Rane in the 41st minute. The second half saw three goals, as two of which ended for Mohun Bagan, allotting them three points in the process.

Matchday Twelve: good goes better, bad gets worse

The title race got even more complicated for Mohun Bagan in the 12th match day when they lost to league side Churchill Brothers in an away match at Tilak Maidan. The Kolkata giants lost as many as seven points in three consecutive league fixtures while Aizawl put together 13 points with four wins and a draw since their defeat to the Mariners.

The Highlanders have shown unity on and off the pitch and are absolutely super-heroes for their fans

This not only bolstered Aizawl’s chance for their maiden I-League title but made the remaining matches more complicated for Mohun Bagan as Sanjoy Sen was forced to keep his focus intact in the League rather than the AFC Cup. Aizawl went up to the top spot in the league standings while Mohun Bagan holed up in the third place, following both Aizawl and arch-rivals East Bengal in the first and the second position respectively.

Match day fifteen: Turning upside down

After a glorious display against Bengaluru FC on the April fool’s day, Mohun Bagan had finally overtaken Aizawl in the race towards the title. Bagan won the match 3-1 while Aizawl lost their rhythm on the same game week on 9th April in a narrow 1-0 defeat to defending champions Bengaluru FC, which saw them go down to the second position in the league standings.

With Sony Norde, Katsumi Yusa, Darryl Duffy, Balwant Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua, Mohun Bagan boasts of the strongest attacking line-up in the league

However, with an identical count of points for both Mohun Bagan and Aizawl, Jamil’s defensive approach of the game cost Aizawl the goal difference against a superior Mohun Bagan. This forced them to the second spot and likely missing out on the league title this year.

Match day seventeen: THE JUDGEMENT DAY

With both teams sharing same points and the goal difference settling the top spot, the forthcoming match day is going to be crucial for deciding the potential winner of the I-League this year. Mohun Bagan has defeated the Highlanders once already, however, with Aizawl’s scary home winning percentage indicate to a much different outcome of the match. Mohun Bagan travels to Mizoram with a defeat in their last game, in the AFC Cup against Maziya S&RC. As pointed out by several pundits and coaches alike, 35-36 should be the magic digit for any club this year, to win the title. With both clubs being standstill at 33 points each, it is yet to know who will emerge as the winner, not only of the match but also of the prestigious tournament in the recent future.

Mohun Bagan travel to Mizoram with a defeat in their last game, in the AFC Cup against Maziya S&RC. As pointed out by several pundits and coaches alike, 35-36 should be the magic digit for any club this year, to win the title. With both clubs being standstill at 33 points each, it is yet to know who will emerge as the winner, not only of the match but also of the prestigious tournament in the recent future.

Published: Sat Apr 22, 2017 04:09 PM IST

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