KOLKATA: Aizawl FC beat Neroca FC 2-1 in the fifth round of the Hero I-League at the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata on Saturday. MC Malsawmzuala scored the winner in the 56th minute after Judah Emmanuel Garcia had cancelled PC Laldinpuia’s first-half header. With the victory, the Mizos now move up the table with seven points and were placed four points behind the leaders Churchill Brothers with one game in hand.
Neroca, who came into the match after a 1-4 defeat against Gokulam Kerala, started the game with attacking intent, and within three minutes, had two chances to score. Khanngam Horam latched on a forward pass from Jude Garcia in the second minute, however, his shot was blocked and sent for a corner. It was Horam again, who was the end of the following corner at the near post, but his header was off target.
Aizawl kept threatening and reaped rewards for their efforts in the 37th minute. An inswinging cross delivered by Malsawmtluanga was met by Laldinpuia, who sent his header past a stranded Bishorjit Singh in the Neroca goal. The former champions almost doubled their lead in the 40th minute through Alfred Jaryan but Bishorjit had no trouble in dealing with it.
Neroca returned with vigour after the break and levelled the score through Judah Emmanuel Garcia just before the 50th minute mark. Songpu Singsit turned past his man in the centre of the park and found Garcia in space. The Trinidad and Tobago striker took a couple of touches before releasing a low powerful shot from outside the area, which zoomed past Lalmuansanga in goal.
Nathaniel Jude Garcia almost gave the Manipuri team the lead in the 55th minute, but his long-range freekick struck the top of the crossbar. The third goal of the game came a minute later in the 56th minute and it was the former Hero I-League champions who grabbed the lead for the second time. A cross from the right flank caused panic inside the Neroca box and as the goalkeeper failed to deal with the long ball, MC Zuala headed the loose ball into an empty net to make it 2-1 in favour of the People’s Club.
Punjab, Delhi draw: RoundGlass Punjab FC shared the points with Sudeva Delhi FC after the two teams played out a goalless draw at the VYBK Stadium on Friday. This is the second goalless draw that RoundGlass Punjab FC were held to, coming on the back of another stalemate against Mohammedan SC in their previous clash. With points shared, both teams are in the midst of a mid-table campaign, having earned five points in as many games.
In a frantic first fifteen minutes of the match that saw end-to-end action, either team could have gone ahead, but complacency in front of goal meant that neither could take the lead. In the 3rd minute, a wicked deflection fell to Kean Lewis on the left flank. The midfielder knocked the ball ahead and tried to shoot from distance, but Saurabh Bhanwala got in the way to defuse the shot. (Report & Picture: AIFF Media)