KOLKATA: Lalliansanga’s 46th-minute strike helped Aizawl FC beat NEROCA FC 1-0 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Thursday. With the victory, Yan Law’s side has now accumulated 18 points from 11 games, and become the first team from Group B to confirm their security from relegation at the end of the season.
Gift Raikhan made three changes from the team’s humbling defeat against the Indian Arrows, bringing in Jiteshwor Singh, Romton Singh and Olen Singh into the starting 11. Aizawl also started with three changes from their 3-0 victory against Chennai City as Yan Law started Lalchungnunga, Lalmawizuala and Ramhlunchhunga.
The first chance of the game fell to Aizawl in the 7th minute as Bishorjit Singh was forced to be quick off his line to clear the danger from a free-kick. On the other end, NEROCA threatened the Aizawl goal in the 9th minute when Jude Garcia met Subash Singam’s cutback and forced a save from Lalmuansanga.
NEROCA kept threatening and as a result, won a free-kick just outside the penalty area in the 24th minute. Aizawl keeper Lalmuansanga had to be alert to save Nathaniel Garcia’s low, swerving effort.
Aizawl came close to scoring the opener in the 30th minute as Brandon reached a cross from the right but could turn his effort on target. In the 36th minute, NEROCA’s Nathaniel Garcia rose highest to meet Judah Garcia’s cross but he couldn’t keep it on target! Despite creating more than enough chances to score, both sides headed into the break deadlocked at 0-0.
Aizawl took the lead in the 46th minute, just seconds after the restart when Lalliansanga met Brandon‘s early cross and sent his well-placed header past a stranded Bishorjit Singh in the NEROCA goal. With a goal in lead, Aizawl now looked comfortable in possession of the ball and kept knocking the NEROCA defence in search of the second goal.
Back to winning ways: Chennai City FC took a huge leap toward survival as they got the better of the Indian Arrows 5-0 at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Thursday. A Vineeth Kumar brace (49th & 95th) coupled with goals from Rajesh (36th), Jockson Dhas (59th) and Iqbal Hussain (85th) aided Chennai City FC to go four points clear of relegation rivals NEROCA, who had lost earlier in the day. With this win, Chennai City also ended their five-match streak of losses, and coincidentally their last win had come against NEROCA in the first phase of the season.
Coming on the back of a 1-2 loss against Sudeva Delhi FC, Chennai City FC took control of the game by the scruff of its neck. The Chennai-based club dominated possession and created chances in a bid to propel themselves out of the relegation spot with a win. Playing high-pressing football, the Satyasagara-coached team restricted Indian Arrows in their own half. (Report & Picture: AIFF Media)