The Red and Gold Brigade were denied a goal in the first half which could have turned the tide in the game.
An entertaining yet ill-tempered game at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the state of Mizoram between Aizawl FC and Quess East Bengal, saw the former earn the three points for the first time this season. Both teams surrendered their leads in the game, but in the end, the home team got the better of the visitors in a 3-2 win.
Gift Raikhan’s side opened the scoring through Leonce Dodoz- the eventual Hero of the Match in the first half. But they went on to concede two back-to-back goals in the second half from the opposition who looked to have taken control of the game by then as they led 2-1. However, much to the surprise of one of the most decorated clubs in India, the Northeastern club bounced back to score two more goals to win all three points and move to the 8th position in the table.
Here are the five talking points from the game.
5. East Bengal faced a finishing problem
East Bengal forwards Enrique Esqueda and Jobby Justin missed one too many chances in the game. In the first half itself, the duo failed to score from positions where considering their calibre, they definitely should have found the back of the net.
Although in the second half, Jobby did manage to pull an equalizer from a nicely placed header, his missed chances from the first half could’ve had made a difference.
As for the Mexican forward, he had his chances in the second half too but chose to involve more in appealing and arguing with the referee for fouls that his teammates conceded. Menendez will be hopeful that the duo delivers in their upcoming games as the Red and Gold Brigade faces reigning champions Minerva Punjab, third-placed Gokulam Kerala and arch rivals Mohun Bagan in a few weeks.
4. Albert Zohmingmawia beacon of hope for Aizawl
27-year-old Albert played an outstanding part in his side’s first win of the season. The midfielder posed as a huge threat to the opposition defence in the first half as he dribbled past his markers on many occasions and also put some dangerous crosses inside the box. On one occasion he managed to get past through three East Bengal players with great skills with the ball and almost managed to make a one-two move but unfortunately fell short for a heavy pass by Ansumana Kromah; it was his highlight of the first half.
In the second half too, Albert kept the possession well although he didn’t look much active. He was eventually substituted in the 75th minute but had a great outing on the day.
3. Borja Gomez Perez solid at the back
Borja was perhaps East Bengal’s best man on the pitch as he was undoubtedly strong while defending and also managed to find his name on the scoresheet as he bundled the ball past the defenders from close range following a corner kick. His goal gave the Red and Gold Brigade a deserving lead in the game which they happened to surrender only in a few minutes.
The Spaniard also pulled off an amazing block in the second half on a pass from the in-form Dodoz which could’ve easily landed straight into Kromah’s legs inside the box. Apart from that, the 30-year-old made some crucial clearances and tried everything to hold the defence together. Although his side conceded three goals, he had very little to do against them.
2. Leonce Dodoz- deserving Hero of the Match
Dodoz had an exceptional outing on the day as he managed to score his side’s opening goal and also provided a brilliant assist to super sub Lalkhawpuimawia, who scored the winner of the game. The 26-year-old Ivorian could’ve easily got another assist in the dying minutes of the game as he put in a wonderful cross where three of his teammates were waiting. Kromah, who was offside stepped in to receive the ball and naturally, the linesman raised his flag.
Dodoz was a constant threat in the attacking third as he created many opportunities for Kromah and the other wingers. He simply looked like Mr. Dependable for Gift Raikhan’s side and the coach will be very happy for the forward’s performance.
1. East Bengal rue absence of goal-line technology
Yet another controversy sparked up in the I-League as East Bengal were denied a goal from a superbly taken free-kick by Lalramchullova. The 22-year-old stepped up to take the free kick in the first half and struck the underside of the crossbar as the ball bounced inside the goal, beyond the goal line only to come back into the game and Gurpreet Singh Chabal managing to catch hold of it.
The video replay of the move showed that the ball had landed inside the goal line and the linesman should have had seen it. Had it been given a goal, East Bengal could’ve had at least earned a point from the game. The incident once again throws light on the issue of bringing of the goal line technology in the league.
However, as commentator Renedy Singh said, the cost of the technology is way too high for the clubs and with that money, they would instead choose to develop the pitches. Clubs like Aizawl still have artificial grass in their home stadiums and provided the necessary money, they would obviously try to invest in natural grass rather than that in the goal line technology.